redistricting | WAMC

redistricting

People standing at a podium with a poster promoting the census
WAMC

People in Massachusetts who have not yet responded to the 2020 U.S. Census could soon get a knock on their door.

Albany County Legislature

Albany County legislators gathered outside the county courthouse this morning to kick off what they say will be the most independent, inclusive redistricting process in the panel's history.

Courtesy of Dutchess County government

Independent redistricting is another step closer to reality in Dutchess County. The county legislature this week unanimously passed a law amending the county charter. Now, it’s up to the voters.

Professor Joshua A. Douglas, an expert on our electoral system, joined us to present an encouraging assessment of current efforts to make our voting system more accessible, reliable, and effective. His new book is: "Vote for US: How to Take Back Our Elections and Change the Future of Voting."

In contrast to the anxiety surrounding our voting system, with stories about voter suppression and manipulation, there are actually quite a few positive initiatives toward voting rights reform. Douglas says regular Americans are working to take back their democracy, one community at a time.

Douglas is a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law. His most recent scholarship focuses on the constitutional right to vote, with an emphasis on state constitutions, as well as the various laws, rules, and judicial decisions impacting election administration.

County Legislator Wanda Willingham at the podium outside the DMV on South Pearl Street, Albany  (October 2018).
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

2020 will bring with it a new U.S. Census — and the redrawing of legislative districts. Albany Democrat Wanda Willingham is deputy chair of the County Legislative Black Caucus and represents District 3 on the county legislature. She spoke with WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas about the challenge of redistricting the city.

In Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama, decided a week ago on March 25, 2015, the Supreme Court reversed and sent back the lower court decision. The federal district court had thrown out a challenge to Alabama’s 2012 redistricting. That court held that the redistricting was not a racial gerrymander. The Supreme Court said the lower court used the wrong standard.

legislativegazette.com

All three propositions on the New York State ballot passed on Tuesday. Supporters of the measure to change the redistricting process say the vote shows New Yorkers are hungry for reform.

New York Ballot Has Three Amendments

Nov 3, 2014
A voting machine
WAMC

There are three amendments on Tuesday’s ballot for New Yorkers to decide, including changing redistricting and whether to borrow $2 billion for school technology.  

Blair Horner
Blair Horner

Next month, voters will decide whether they want to change the way redistricting is done in New York, by voting on a ballot amendment that would change the state’s constitution. But there are difference of opinion over whether the amendment actually gets rid of gerrymandering, or not.

Reform Groups Split Over Redistricting

Sep 23, 2014

Reform groups are split over the merits of a November ballot item to change the way new legislative and congressional districts are drawn in New York.


Last week, New York State Supreme Court Judge Patrick McGrath struck down proposed language for the upcoming Proposal 1, which is a referendum question that amends the state constitution to change the state redistricting process.  The vote on Proposal 1 will be on the ballot this November.

8/20/14 Panel

Aug 20, 2014

  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, NYPIRG Legislative Director Blair Horner, and University at Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Reporter, Rosemary Armao.

Topics include:
Ferguson
ISIS beheads U.S. Journalist
Battle over redistricting in NY
Common Core losing ground in U.S.?

legislativegazette.com

Supporters of a November ballot amendment on redistricting say the amendment will help prevent rampant partisan gerrymandering when the next district lines are drawn in the New York Senate and  Assembly. The groups Citizens Union and League of Women Voters are making voters aware of the amendment and giving them reasons why voters should approve the measure.

Wikipedia Commons

Government reform groups are split over whether an amendment on the November ballot to change the way legislative district lines are drawn is an improvement, or will make only make gerrymandering worse.

New Yorkers will get to vote on three proposals to change the state’s Constitution this November.  An important question being voted on is a plan to change the way redistricting is done in New York.  This past week, the state Board of Elections approved the language of the ballot question that will be put before the voters.

Blair Horner
Blair Horner

Government reform groups are beginning their push early to convince voters to reject an amendment on redistricting on the state’s November ballot. They say it’s a sham that does not offer the changes that it promises.

Blair Horner: A Look Ahead To November

Jun 23, 2014

Now that the lackluster 2014 legislative session is in the books, New York’s elected officials turn their attention to November.  The statewide offices of governor, comptroller, and attorney general are all up.  All 213 legislative seats and 27 Congressional House of Representatives are up for a vote.

A new study projects continued slow population growth for Massachusetts for the next 20 years. Some parts of western Massachusetts could see population declines according to this forecast.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Susan Strate, manager of the Population Estimates Program at the UMass Donahue Institute.

..::WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas::..

In New York, the Dutchess County Board of Elections is urging voters to check their polling places.

  After redistricting, Congresspeople are exploring their new districts.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Democratic Representative Jim McGovern tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that his area has expanded, but he’s happy with the new terrain.

Doug Kerr/Flickr

GOSHEN – Top officials of Orange County NAACP chapters and a leading civil rights attorney, on Wednesday, called for the Orange County Legislature not to approve its redistricting plan when it meets on Friday saying it is purposely designed to keep minority representation in the City of Newburgh to a minimum.

Civil rights attorney Michael Sussman said one legislative district in Newburgh would be 85 percent minorities while the adjacent one would have 55 percent. That, he claimed, protects the white incumbent legislator, Patrick Berardinelli, a Republican, from losing his seat.

    The redistricting process put several incumbents in reshaped districts. In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Democratic Representative Richard Neal tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that he is comfortable with his new constituents in the Berkshires.

WAMC

The City of Plattsburgh Redistricting Committee held its public hearing on the plan to change the city’s wards last night.

Restricting Committee Chair Peter Ensel called the meeting to order, read the rules and called for comments.

And they waited.

But no resident came to City Hall to comment on the new ward structure that the committee spent months re-mapping. Chair Peter Ensel was surprised that no one showed up.

A panel of federal judges says the new election district lines drawn by the Senate and Assembly majorities will be used in the fall elections. WAMC's Dave Lucas reports…

The decision is a critical win for Senate Republicans hoping to secure their slim majority in the chamber despite a Democratic voter advantage of nearly 2-to-1 in the state.

Good-government groups have criticized the Senate GOP redistricting plan. They say it continues a tradition of twisting district lines to protect the power of the majority parties.

Vermont lawmakers have completed the arduous process of redrawing legislative district maps for the next 10 years.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports…

Reapportionment happens once a decade to accommodate shifts in population, and in keeping with those shifts during the past decade, Burlington is gaining a House seat, while Rutland County is losing one. Other changes are being made as well.

VT Speaker: Adjournment Likely Delayed

Apr 23, 2012

Legislative leaders say Vermont lawmakers won't be going home for the year this coming Friday, as they originally had hoped.  WAMC’s Tristan O’Neill reports…

But they're still technically ahead of schedule. The Legislature budgeted for 18 weeks this year, and this coming week will be their 16th in session.

House Speaker Shap Smith and Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell say lawmakers should plan on being in session through the first week in May, possibly including Saturday the 5th.

VT House Prepares for Redistricting Fight

Apr 9, 2012

The Vermont House is expected to be the scene of some heated debate Tuesday over a plan to redraw legislative district, with a focus on where district lines should be drawn in the city of Burlington.  WAMC's Tristan O'Neill reports...

Redistricting is done every 10 years after the census shows where population shifts have occurred in the state. Both the House and Senate have been working to make sure the boundaries of their districts result in every Vermont voter getting roughly equal representation in Montpelier.