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The Assembly Minority Conference

Assembly Majority Vote to Change Redistricting Process Is a Blatant Power Grab

Column from Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay

Majority Conference legislators recently voted to undermine an already agreed-upon plan to draw up fair voting maps and replace them with more favorable ones. This maneuvering crosses the line between policy and politics. Earlier this week, the Assembly Majority Conference decided to undo the work of the Legislature and the will of the public by throwing out an agreement between members of both parties and replacing it with one that drastically limits the input from Republican Conference members or their appointees.

In 2014, after receiving overwhelming approval in the Legislature, millions of New Yorkers voted in favor of a Constitutional Amendment that established equitable guidelines for the upcoming 2022 redistricting effort. In the November 2014 General Election, voters in New York approved Proposal Number One, an amendment revising the state’s redistricting procedure. Prior to being placed on the ballot, the proposal overwhelmingly passed two separately-elected Legislatures in 2012 and 2013.

The original plan was designed to ensure reasonable, fair representation by all parties during the process by which legislative lines and districts are established for state and federal seats. Instead, Senate and Assembly Majority members have now concocted a scheme to reduce the threshold for new redistricting plans to be approved at both the commission level and the legislative level, all but ensuring voting maps look exactly as they like in upcoming elections.

In opposition to this, I issued a letter to good-government groups calling for resistance to this blatant power grab. The vote the Assembly Majority Conference took was a pure political power play and has nothing to do with equity and fairness. It is opportunistic, self-preserving and undemocratic. What’s even more frustrating is that many of the same legislators who previously supported the original plan walked back their own measure even before the new process could begin.

This is beyond disappointing. It is my sincere hope good-government organizations, media outlets, the public and lawmakers see through this transparent attempt to subvert fair and honest elections and push back against these efforts. Is this what New Yorkers should expect from one-party rule? This plan is not good for our state and it is not good for democracy. The next redistricting process will take place in 2022. New Yorkers who want to see fair elections and a functioning democratic process should oppose this measure in November.

A full copy of the letter is available here.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069 and by email at