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The Assembly Minority Conference

Public Participation Critical Component Of Upcoming 2022 Redistricting Efforts

Legislative Column from Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay

Earlier this week, the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) announced it would host eight public listening sessions across the state prior to redrawing state legislative and congressional district lines, a process which takes place every ten years to reflect population changes. The sessions are a result of a 2014 public referendum in which millions of New Yorkers voted in favor of a Constitutional Amendment assembling the IRC in the hopes of ensuring fair and honest guidelines for the upcoming 2022 redistricting effort.

While the listening sessions will only be held virtually, I encourage all New Yorkers to participate and have their voices heard. Similar to the importance of exercising your right to vote, participating in public forums such as this is an expression of our civic duty, vital to our communities and critical at every level of government.

Each virtual meeting will begin at 2 p.m. and the schedule for the first round of hearings is as follows:

  • Tuesday, July 20 in Nassau and Suffolk counties;
  • Thursday, July 22 in Queens County;
  • Monday, July 26 in Bronx and New York counties;
  • Thursday, July 29 in Kings and Richmond counties;
  • Monday, August 2 in the Mid-Hudson Valley and Capital Region;
  • Thursday, August 5 in the North Country and Mohawk Valley;
  • Monday, August 9 in the Southern Tier and Central New York; and
  • Thursday, August 12 in the Finger Lakes and Western New York.

At the beginning of the year, Assembly and Senate Minority members voted to undermine the 2014 vote and devised a scheme that would change the threshold for new redistricting plans to be approved at both the commission and legislative levels. While this was nothing more than a pure political maneuver, I have repeatedly called on good government groups, the public and lawmakers to see this for what it is – opportunistic and undemocratic.

In a democracy, every voice matters, every opinion counts. Sadly, when voices are stifled and the will of the people is ignored, people notice and start to look for “greener pastures,” just like 1.5 million New Yorkers have done over the past decade. As a result of this population loss, we learned earlier this year, New York lost a Congressional seat, diminishing our level of representation in the halls of Congress.

The only way to ensure fair and equitable representation at the state and federal levels and no special interest or political party gains an unfair advantage in the election process is for the public to provide feedback and demand a transparent, balanced government. Residents in communities across the state cannot afford to lose representation – at any level.

More information about the regional redistricting meetings and how to participate virtually or submit testimony is available on the IRC’s website. The first redistricting proposal will be made public on September 15; additional hearings will then be scheduled.

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 19 Canalview Mall, Fulton, NY 13069 and by email at