New York Independent Redistricting Amendment (2014)

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Independent Redistricting Amendment
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:New York Constitution
Referred by:New York Legislature
Topic:Redistricting
Status:On the ballot

The New York Independent Redistricting Amendment is on the November 4, 2014 ballot in the state of New York as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure, upon voter approval, would create an independent redistricting commission to establish state senate, assembly and congressional districts.[1]

The amendment was primarily sponsored in the New York Assembly by House Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-65) as A 2086 and in the New York Senate by Senate Co-President Dean Skelos (R-9) as S 2107.[1][2]

Text of measure

Constitutional changes

See also: Article III, New York Constitution

The amendment would amend Sections 4 and 5 of Article III of the New York Constitution.[1]

Background

See also: Redistricting in New York

Currently, the state legislature is responsible for redistricting. While there is a commission on redistricting, it only acts in an advisory role. The final deal must meet with approval from the Department of Justice.[3]

The advisory commission, known as the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR), is composed of six individuals:[4]

  • One Legislator selected by Assembly Majority Leader
  • One Legislator selected by Senate Majority Leader
  • One Citizen Member selected by the Assembly Majority Leader
  • One Citizen Member selected by the Senate Majority Leader.
  • One Member selected by Senate Minority Leader.
  • One Member selected by Assembly Minority Leader

The 2011-12 state budget included $1.5 million designated for LATFOR.[5]

Support

The measure was sponsored in the New York Legislature by Rep. Sheldon Silver (D-65) and Sen. Dean Skelos (R-9).

Supporters

Opposition

Opponents

Officials

Organizations

  • Common Cause New York[8]
  • New York Public Interest Research Group[6]
  • NYPIRG
  • EffectiveNY

Arguments

  • Common Cause Executive Director Susan Lerner argued, “The proposed constitutional amendment sets up a hyperpartisan, expensive and ineffective structure for redistricting. Ultimately this is not an independent process, and the voters lose.”[8]

Media editorial positions

2014 measures
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November 4
Independent Redistricting Amendment
Electronic Bills Amendment
Bonds for School Technology
Endorsements
See also: Endorsements of New York ballot measures, 2014

Opposition

  • Albany Times Union said, "The measure’s supporters claim it will turn redistricting over to an independent commission. But as surely as a puppet doesn’t act independently from its unseen puppeteer, this commission would be a tool of the legislature that created it. And which wrote loopholes into it big enough to drag a gerrymandered district through… If Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature have their way, politicians will be even more empowered than they are now to manipulate the political maps, and essentially pick who votes for them."[9]
  • The Post-Standard said, "Question: When does the word “independent” mean ”controlled by the same old party leaders”? Answer: When it comes in front of “redistricting commission”… Voters have one more chance to defeat this ill-conceived, undemocratic and partisan constitutional amendment."[10]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the New York Constitution

According to the New York Constitution, a majority vote was required in two successive sessions of the New York State Legislature in order to qualify the amendment for the statewide ballot.

The measure was referred to the ballot after being approved by both houses in successive terms by simple majority. A2086 was approved for a second time by the New York State Assembly on January 14, 2013. S2107 was approved for a second time by the New York State Senate on January 23, 2013.[1][2]

Assembly vote

January 14, 2013 Assembly vote

New York A2086 Assembly Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 133 89.86%
No1510.14%

Senate vote

January 23, 2013 Senate vote

New York S2107 Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 43 68.25%
No2031.75%

See also

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References