2011-09-30 / Editorial/Opinion

Keep Politics Out Of The Reapportionment Process

When Andrew Cuomo was running for Governor, one of his major campaign promises was that he would appoint a non-partisan group of businesspeople and residents to draw the new district lines mandated by the 2010 Census. That promise is now off the table, not because the Governor lost interest, but because the politicians, primarily the Republicans who now control the State Senate by two votes and like it that way, won’t have some amateurs messing in what they consider their sacred bailiwick. Legislators have one overriding goal, and that is to get reelected. They will not easily allow anybody else to redistrict them out of existence or even pit them against another strong incumbent. It isn’t going to happen. Because of political interference, the redistricting committee will now consist of appointees of both the Governor and legislative leaders in the Assembly and Senate. Their task, the Governor told them, will be to “reunite communities with actually shared interests, taking into account geographic, social, economic and other factors.” In reality, they will be tasked with protecting as many of their colleagues as possible. Rockaway will suffer from the politicizing of the reapportionment process. With a brand new Congressman and a brand new Assemblyman, we are vulnerable both to Albany and to the feds, who have a large say in what goes on because of the Voting Rights Act and its mandate to insure that minority voters get their fair share. The process should be interesting, but we would still feel better if it were being overseen by a nonpartisan commission.

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