Monday, April 11, 2011

An Independent Redistricting Commission: A Must for 2012

The Times Union ran an editorial on Sunday on the Senate Majority Leader’s argument on the constitutionality of an independent redistricting commission in New York State. The editorial calls out the Senate Majority for its position of supporting an independent redistricting commission during the last election and its current position that the plain is unconstitutional — thus requiring a constitutional amendment and delaying the process until the elections of 2022.

Through internal reviews of the governor’s proposal, the Brennan Center found no constitutional problems with the creation of an independent redistricting commission and also issued a statement commending the bill. The Times Union cites a recent memorandum by Weil, Gotshal and Manges LLP on the redistricting bill which noted that an independent redistricting commission would not intrude on the legislature’s constitutional powers, as any recommendation by the commission would still require final approval by the legislature.

The creation of an independent redistricting commission that would recommend fairly drawn districts before the 2012 election would signal an important step forward for our state legislators who have for far too long chosen their own voters.

For more on the Brennan Center’s work on redistricting, please visit our website, where you can access A Citizen’s Guide to Redistricting and other resources.

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