The debate over whether voters should approve a new constitutional amendment creating a congressional and state legislative redistricting commission is certainly heating up. Earlier today, I posted a report from Citizens Union supporting approval of the redistricting commission.
Todd Breitbart, a former state senate staff member and long time expert on New York State redistricting, released a brief report this morning rebutting the Citizen’s Union arguments promoting Proposal 1.
Breitbart makes several arguments why Proposal 1 would take New York backward instead of forward with real reforms:
1. While the state legislature can reject two sets of proposed congressional and state legislative redistricting maps from the commission, on the third round, the legislature is free to submit an entirely new plan to the Governor for approval.
2. Proposal 1 would not prevent partisan gerrymandering.
3. The constitutional rules requiring population equality, compact districts, and limited division of counties by district lines, are merely retained from the existing constitutional language adopted in 1894. The Legislature would be able
to ignore those rules in 202 as freely as it did in 2012.
4. If there is no hope of enforcing the existing redistricting rules, which Proposal 1 merely retains, there is even less hope of enforcing the new rules.
5. Proposal 1 would actually add a new constitutional rule, not mentioned in the CU report, calling for “maintenance of cores of existing districts” – i.e., preserving the previous plan’s gerrymander. This is to make extra sure that there will be no judicial
enforcement of the rules, old and new, that he CU celebrates.
Today’s report can be accessed here:TB2-Why the Citizens Union Argument for Proposal 1 Is Pure Fan… (1)
A longer, more detailed analysis of the entire proposal was released by Breitbart last month. That report can be found here: The Supposed Constitutional Reform of Redistricting – September-17-2014
I will be watching the debate over Proposal 1 closely and will post additional relevant documents on this blog as the become available.