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WRITE TO YOUR LOCAL PAPER
1. Public Opinion on Gerrymandering: An overwhelming 81% of New York voters view gerrymandering as a form of cheating.
2. Support for Non-Partisan Redistricting: Only 5% of New York voters want the Legislature to oversee the redistricting process.
3. Constitutional Concerns: A significant 80% of voters agree with the New York State Constitution’s mandate that districts should not be drawn to discourage competition or favor particular candidates or parties.
4. Denial of Civil Rights: An alarming 76% of voters believe that political gerrymandering denies them their civil right to choose their Member of Congress through competitive elections.
5. Accountability and Corruption: A striking 78% of voters believe that gerrymandering leads to more corruption, and 72% think it allows political party bosses to pick Members of Congress.
6. Override of the Constitution: A minority of only 17% of voters agree with the notion that the Governor and State Legislature should have the right to ignore the will of voters and override the Constitution.
7. The Power of the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC): In 2014, New York voters approved the establishment of a 10-member IRC to ensure fair and unbiased redistricting.
8. Manipulation of the Redistricting Process: In 2021, the Democrat-controlled state Senate and Assembly pushed through legislation to circumvent the IRC, raising concerns about manipulation.
9. Statewide Rejection: In November 2021, the constitutional amendment to repeal the IRC created by voters in 2014 was rejected in a statewide ballot.
10. Stalemate in Redistricting: Disagreement between the IRC’s Democrat and Republican members by the end of 2021 resulted in a stalemate with no agreement on final maps for the Legislature.
11. Hijacking of the Redistricting Process: In 2022, Governor Hochul and her legislative allies removed the IRC from the process, placing redistricting solely in the hands of the Democrat-controlled state Senate and Assembly.
12. Legal Challenge: Concerned New York voters filed a lawsuit against Governor Hochul and others, alleging that the state’s Congressional redistricting plans violated the NYS Constitution.
13. Court’s Ruling: The Court of Appeals ruled in April 2022, declaring both Congressional and state Senate redistricting plans unconstitutional and void due to partisan intent.
14. Special Master’s Role: Dr. Jonathan Cervas, a court-appointed special master and nationally recognized redistricting expert, played a crucial role in drawing constitutional maps for Congressional elections.
15. Democrat Attempt to Override: In June 2023, Democrats attempted to return mapmaking powers to the IRC, risking gerrymandering and an erosion of the rule of law.
16. Court Decision: The Court of Appeals issued its decision on December 12, 2023 and it ruled in favor of the corrupt Albany politicians. The IRC will now have another chance to redraw the Congressional map which clearly goes against our state Constitution.
17. The Court of Appeals Wrongly Rejected The Current Map: Both Democrats and Republicans agree that the current Congressional map drawn by a special master in 2022 is constitutional and fair.
Top 10 Reasons why the Court of Appeals was wrong in ordering the IRC to redraw the current Congressional map:
1. Reasonable Districts: Neither political party has challenged the current Congressional map. At the Court of Appeals hearing in November, the current Congressional map was not challenged. The attorney representing the Democrats confirmed they had no issue with the current lines of the map. “We are not challenging the maps.”
2. The Current Lines Favor Democrats: Out of 26 Congressional districts, only 3 of those are Republican-majority districts. The other 23 Congressional districts are Democrat-majority districts. New Yorkers vote to elect 15 Democrats and 11 Republicans, creating a balance of representation which is proportional to the total popular vote in these elections (56% D to 44% R).
3. Delay of Elections: Using the current Congressional map would not delay primary elections.
4. Cost to the Taxpayers: The expenses of conducting two primaries could cost up to $120 million according to Bloomberg Government. Taxpayers have already footed the bill of $2.4 million, paid to law firms by the politicians to defend their gerrymandering.
5. Confusion: Confusion for elected officials, confusion for candidates, and most importantly, confusion for millions of voters across New York State. Candidates are allowed to start circulating petitions on February 27th, but new map do not need to even be proposed until February 28th.
6. More Legal Delay: A gerrymandered map will undoubtedly result in further lawsuits and delay.
7. An inability to properly represent constituents: For example, in NY-03, a new Member of Congress will be elected in mid-February and, within days, will have a new Congressional district to run in for November. How can a Member of Congress properly represent their constituents when they do not know who their constituents are?
8. Restoring Judicial Integrity: The Court of Appeals fell victim to the corruption in Albany and clearly put party politics before the state Constitution. Approval of the current fair map would only make this a footnote in the history books, not a historical turning point in the integrity of the New York Court of Appeals.
9. Non-Partisan Professionals: The current Congressional map was drawn by an independent redistricting expert from Carnegie Mellon University. Corrupt Albany politicians want to take control of the mapping process so they redraw this map in secret.
10. No Public Input: The cynical politicians in Albany have decided they are not going to allow public hearings and comment on the redistricting process.