FOR PUBLIC POLICY

Redistricting

Are you ready for redistricting?

Census 2020 redistricting data is scheduled to be available this September. There are 40 counties, 47 cities, 14 towns, and four villages in New York State that have legislative districts (sometimes referred to as wards) that will have to assess and perhaps redraw district boundaries in order to comply with federal “equal population” standards. Your municipality is one of them.

Is your municipality ready to undertake the redistricting process? How extensively will your municipality need to reevaluate existing district boundaries? The Benjamin Center is here to help.

 

Equal Representation

New districts must be drawn and adopted by 2023 if {insert muni name}’s districts exceed allowable standards. Federal “one person-one vote” equal protection standards and other federal and state law requirements must be met and completed in time for the 2023 November general election.


Partisan Fairness

While the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that federal courts cannot hear cases alleging partisan gerrymandering, it left the door open for state courts to hear these kinds of cases. And by more than 2 to 1, public opinion is that partisan gerrymandering is wrong, and should not occur.


Community

Municipalities have cohesive, established neighborhoods and communities. Districts need to be designed not only to count people equally, give minorities voice, and assure partisan fairness, but also to embrace and reflect these valued local characteristics.

 

Redistricting New York - Orange background New York state outline

Select examples of our previous work: 

Designing a Fair Process We have experience.

Our Benjamin Center founder, Gerald Benjamin, designed and led the process to adopt, and then helped to revise the nonpartisan redistricting process now in use for the Ulster County legislature. 

 

Mapping to Advance the Public Interest Using the results of the 2010 census:

  • The Benjamin Center developed unbiased redistricting maps for Newsday to provide a basis of comparison for plans created by the Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk County governments.

  • We developed maps that questioned the Orange County legislature’s distribution of the City of Newburgh’s Hispanic population among five districts and this work was used as evidence by the courts in the review of the county process.

  • The Benjamin Center consulted with Common Cause New York on their politically neutral redistricting maps for the New York State Senate and Assembly, as well as New York’s Congressional Districts. (The congressional district maps were later used as the basis of those actually adopted under the authority of a federal judge.)

 

The Benjamin Center has the experience and know-how to help you meet legal requirements, fairly and in a way that integrates local community needs and values. Partnering with New York Law School’s NY Census & Redistricting Institute, we will be providing local governments with the tools and assistance needed to navigate through the redistricting process.

New York Law School Partnership

Responsive Community Mapping 

We guided the redistricting process and drew the district maps for varied levels of government including The City of Oneonta and The Town of Blooming Grove.

The NY Census & Redistricting Institute is partnering with the Benjamin Center to expand its expertise with legal, process, and strategic advice. Institute personnel have decades of experience working on redistricting for the New York State Legislature, City of New York, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Town of North Hempstead, Town of North Hempstead, and have also provided advice to many other localities in New York and across the nation.

It’s never too early to start planning, but it often becomes too late to catch up.

 

To learn more about how the Benjamin Center and NY Census & Redistricting Institute can help you, please contact:

Joshua Simons
simonsj@newpaltz.edu | 845-257-2901
The Benjamin Center