Albany Op-Ed: Biased Redistricting Blatant on Long Island

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Despite significant demographic growth in communities of color on Long Island, the proposed voting district maps for New York State will likely keep white men in the nine senate seats for the area, according to an op-ed published today in the Albany Times-Union.

Civil rights attorney Frederick Brewington and Daniel Altschuler of the Long Island Civic Engagement Table talk about how unfair district lines will dilute the voting power of black, Latino, and immigrant residents on Long Island:

What is New York’s legislative task force on redistricting hiding?

LATFOR, as it’s known, delayed releasing its draft state legislative maps until late January, compressing the time for public review. It then held the first hearing only two business days later.

LATFOR still hasn’t released drafts of the state’s new congressional districts, and it has again delayed releasing revised maps for the Legislature.

LATFOR’s dawdling gives opponents less time to respond. It amounts to an intentional effort by legislators from both parties to force problematic maps down our throats.

So, again, what exactly are these people hiding?

Every decade, we redraw our electoral maps to reflect New York’s dynamism and diversity. If one county loses population disproportionately, it should have less weight in the state Legislature. If one city’s population surges, its voters should obtain greater representation. Throughout the process, minorities’ voting rights must be protected.

LATFOR’s first round of maps clearly violated these principles. Good government advocates have lambasted the commission for protecting incumbents’ and parties’ interests over communities’ well-being. But nothing is more troubling than the effective disenfranchisement that LATFOR’s proposed maps portend for communities of color.


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