Monthly Archives: March 2015

U.S. Census Estimates: Downstate Growth; Upstate Small Losses

New U.S. Census data indicates that New York City continued to grow slowly in 2014 while many upstate counties posted small population losses.

County-level population estimates released last week showed New York City grew 0.62 percent from July 2013 to July 2014, to 8.49 million people. Suburban Long Island,  Westchester and Rockland counties  also grew modestly over the year. Rockland County’s 0.9 percent growth rate was the fastest statewide over the year.

Only 10 upstate counties showed growth over the year, with most posting a loss of less than 1 percent. Saratoga County’s 0.36 percent growth rate was the fastest upstate.

Although New York fell out of third place in state population between 2013 and 2014, the state did have three counties among the top 50 numerical gainers. Each was a New York City borough: Kings (Brooklyn), which added about 19,000; Queens, which gained about 18,000; and Bronx (with an increase of about 11,000).

Sullivan County lost 1.37 percent of its population over the year, the fastest rate of loss in the state.

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Alabama Redistricting

Tim Phelps reports in GOVERNING about yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision invalidating the Alabama state legislative redistricting plan. He writes:

“The Supreme Court delivered a rare victory for minority voting rights Wednesday, finding that a 2012 Alabama redistricting plan appeared to violate federal law by shifting black voters into districts they already dominated to dilute their influence elsewhere.”

This decision basically underscores the need for district specific racial voting analysis. There is no “one percentage fits all” rule adopted by many states after 2010. The decision also mentions the mindless drive to reach +/- 1% deviation at the state level.

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More on the Albany County Legislature Decision

Here’s a follow up article from the Times Union regarding yesterday’s decision rejecting the Albany County Legislature’s redistricting plan. Of interest here is that Judge Kahn did not deal with the issue of Hispanic and black cohesiveness. His decision was based on black voting data alone. Courts have yet to decide whether Hispanic and black cohesiveness can be combined to meet prong two of the Gingles test: that the minority community votes cohesively. The plaintiffs attorney and this writer debated this issue two years ago in a challenge against the Town of Hempstead for the failure to create a combined minority district. The case was eventually withdrawn before it went to trial.

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Albany County Violated Voting Rights Act; Must Redraw County Legislative Districts

Jordan Carleo-Evangelist is reporting  in the Times Union  that “Albany County diluted minority voting power in its 2011 redistricting plan and has blocked county officials from moving ahead with this year’s legislative elections until a new plan is drafted.

In an 81-page decision, Senior U.S. Judge Lawrence Kahn ordered the county to submit a new plan to the court within three weeks — a timetable that seems designed not to disrupt the existing election calendar, which begins with ballot petitioning in June.”

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NYC Council To Consider Bill On Non-citizen Voting

NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm is considering legislation to permit non-citizens to vote in New York City’s municipal elections. If enacted, NYC could become one of eight jurisdictions in the United States to permit non-citizens to vote. As reported by Matthew Chayes, such a move could be consequential in at least 20 of 51 council districts where immigrant population numbers are highest.

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Nassau County GOP Questioned by FEC over U.S. House Race Contributions

Newsday reports that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is questioning Nassau County Republicans about a $50,000 contribution to a Massachusetts-based super PAC that ran ads against U.S. House candidate Kathleen Rice last year. The Nassau GOP registered as a federal party committee and filed a report without certain information on this payment.

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Niagara County Considering Printing Ballots In-House

The Lockport Journal reports that the Niagara County Legislature is considering printing election ballots in-house to save money. The legislature may have a committee consider this move to save costs.

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