Streams

 

Redistricting

The Empire

State Senate Dems: Creating a new district is illegal

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pushing back on reported Republican attempts to create a new seat in the New York State Senate, Senate Democrats are rebutting the idea, calling the move illegal under the law.

"What the Senate Republicans are doing is illegal and no reading of the State Constitution would allow a new seat to be created. We are witnessing the depths that the Republicans will go to hold onto power," Mike Murphy, spokesperson for the Senate Democrats, said in a statement. "They are playing a dangerous game with the state constitution and the redistricting process."

The Dems are arguing the state's constitution explicitly states how to count the number of senate districts and that, however you count it, the state's population dictates 62 districts.

The Republicans, however, are vehemently denying any such plan exists. Scott Reif, spokesperson for the Senate Republicans, has called the suggestion "pure speculation."

Read More

Comment

It's A Free Country ®

The Process is Political: Redistricting Clashes in Texas and New York

Monday, September 19, 2011

Texas legislative leaders look to get around Washington politics with their redistricting map, and New York politics may be forcing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to revisit his veto threat for redrawn districts that aren't created by an independent panel. And Pennsylvania considers abandoning an all-or-nothing approach for its electoral votes, but it may hurt both Democrats and Republicans. 

Comment

It's A Free Country ®

The Process is Political: What Republican Win in NY Special Election Means for Redistricting

Thursday, September 15, 2011

After Democrats and Republicans both scored surprise wins in special Congressional elections, the redistricting politics in New York are in flux. In Michigan, the new education lobby group founded by Michelle Rhee tops lobbying spending, but also disclosed a lot more than other groups. And in Connecticut, a Democratic legislative leader is asked to step down from a redistricting panel, because he plans to run to represent one of those Congressional districts in 2012. 

Comment

WNYC News

Party Leaders to Dems: Chins Up

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

WNYC

Democratic party leaders are trying to reassure members about the party's future after a loss in New York's 9th Congressional district race. Republicans painted the victory as a referendum on President Obama's job performance.

Comment

It's A Free Country ®

The Process is Political: Early Voting and Turnout in Special Elections

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Special elections in Nevada and New York, but voters can only vote early in one of them. What The Godfather might teach us about redistricting. And Paypal campaign donations come under fire in a local Massachusetts race. 

Comment

It's A Free Country ®

The Process is Political: Redistricting Leaves Some Feeling Frustrated and Friendless at Capitol

Monday, September 12, 2011

Independent groups and campaigns aren't supposed to coordinate, but Obama fundraisers cheer on president at campaign headquarters, then are invited to SuperPAC fundraiser that immediately followed. Redistricting is fraying nerves of anxious lawmakers in Washington, causing some intraparty friction. In Wisconsin, a state agency memo is fueling the argument that a new voter ID law is designed to suppress turnout. 

Comment

It's A Free Country ®

The Process is Political: Chris Christie & the Koch Brothers

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Audio recordings of Chris Christie's keynote at a private Koch Brothers fundraising session is causing political troubles for him back home, Wisconsin continues to wade through recall questions, and in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, Virginia and Maryland keep partisan powerbases intact as they redraw Congressional districts. All this and more in our daily look at the details that can change everything.

Comments [3]

It's A Free Country ®

The Process is Political: Texas Redistricting Challenge Ensnares Perry

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Latino voting rights groups and Congressional reps worried about losing their seats have sued Gov. Rick Perry and the state of Texas, challenging new district maps drawn up by the legislature. GOP contenders are coming to California to debate, and raise wads of cash, and NYC is trying to regulate 'independent spending.' All this and more in our daily look at the details that can change everything.

Comment

It's A Free Country ®

The Process is Political: Obama Campaign Opposes Ohio Early Voting Changes

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Obama Campaign Joins Effort Against Ohio Election Changes: Obama's campaign staff is bolstering a petition effort in Ohio to block enforcement of a law that shortens Ohio's early voting period, moves Ohio's primary up from May to March, and eliminates "the so-called "golden week" during which people could register to vote and cast ballots on the same day," reports  and moved next year's presidential primary to May from March," reports Ohio political reporter Marc Kovac. Republicans backed the bill and Governor John Kasich signed it, arguing that it was needed to make rules more uniform across counties. 

Comment

The Empire

State's highest court throws out Nassau County GOP's redistricting

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nassau County Democratic Chair Jay Jacobs (Courtesy of the Nassau County Democratic Committee)

The state's highest court today overturned a lower court's ruling, negating new county legislature lines drawn by the Republican majority in Nassau county. In a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeals this morning said the redistricting plan ran afoul of the county's charter requirements for a lengthier process that involved public review. The current lines will be used in the upcoming county legislature elections this November.

In a statement released this morning, Nassau County Democratic Chair Jay Jacobs hailed the decision, calling the redistricting fight "an extreme waste of time."

"County Executive Mangano and Presiding Officer Schmitt are guilty yet again or overreaching and using their offices to simply retain power," Jacobs said in a statement. Later, on a conference call, he contrasted his party's actions with the legislative majority.

"They will put ethics aside and do whatever it takes to hold on to power at whatever cost," Jacobs said. "That’s not how we operate. And never have.”

Read More

Comments [1]

It's A Free Country ®

The Process Is Political: Banks Abandon Obama

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Banks Abandon Obama: America’s six largest banks have dramatically changed allegiances since the 2008 presidential money race, and GOP candidate Mitt Romney is reaping the spoils. Recent campaign finance reports “offer a vivid illustration of how the president's first 30 months in office have fractured what was once a warm relationship with the largest American banks,” reports American Banker, a daily financial industry newspaper. "You could sum it all up in a hyphenated word: Dodd-Frank," University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato tells the paper.

Comments [1]

It's A Free Country ®

The Process Is Political: A New, Regular Roundup

Monday, August 29, 2011

Through the 2012 election cycle, It’s A Free Country will keep a focus on the mechanics of elections, from voting rules, political party rules to redistricting to, of course, the money that fuels campaigns.

As part of that, we'll be keeping a regular eye on top-line news, undercovered stories, and opinion on our changing political process in a weekly roundup. As with most things around here, we welcome tips, thoughts, and fierce debate about whether any or all of this is good for our democracy. 

Comment

The Empire

Prisoner count fight just the beginning of redistricting war

Friday, August 05, 2011

[A great explainer on prisoner populations and why they're counted how they appeared on It's a Free Country in May. Read it here.]

By Karen DeWitt, WXXI Capitol Bureau Chief

(Getty)

The 2012 elections for the state legislature will be influenced, more than anything else, by the mandatory redistricting process, required every ten years after a new census.

In the past, Democrats, who have long dominated the Assembly, and the Republicans who have controlled the Senate in all but two years in more than a half century, have allowed the majority party in each house to have free reign in drawing the district lines, largely to the advantage of the incumbent politicians.

In recent decades, that arrangement has especially benefited Senate Republicans, who are losing party voters to Democrats in the increasingly blue state.

A law passed in 2010, during one of the rare times that Democrats held the State Senate, also has the potential to further erode the GOP’s remaining base. The new law says prison inmates can no longer be counted as residing in the prisons, located mostly in remote rural upstate legislative districts, but must be counted in the districts where they lived before they were put in jail. For decades, Republicans had counted the prisoners as living upstate to help boost population for their Senate districts.

Alice Green, with the Center for Law and Justice, who testified at a legislative hearing, says that’s fundamentally unfair. She says nearly half of the state’s 57,000 prisoners are from New York City.

90% of African American inmates, or around 24,000, are serving time in prisons upstate. She says white rural communities have benefited from counting the inmates as residing in the prison towns because it artificially boosts their populations, at the expense of mostly poor urban communities, where populations then appear to decline.

“This is tantamount to airlifting the population of zip code 10039 out of Harlem and dropping it somewhere in the middle of the Adirondacks,” Green said.

Read More

Comments [1]

The Empire

Social justice groups hit redistricting task force on prisoner non-compliance

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A group of social justice and good government organizations sent a reprimanding letter today to the state's redistrict task force in response to reports that predominately upstate districts would continue to count prisoners in their population totals--a violation of the law, according to the letter.

After meeting earlier this month, the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) was reportedly looking to continue the practice of counting prisoners as part of the population of the district in which they're incarcerated, violating a law passed in 2010 that changed the law to have prisoners counted as part of the districts they lived in prior to incarceration.

"Failure to comply promptly with the law’s requirement that incarcerated persons be reallocated for purposes of redistricting would be a serious violation of legal obligations," the letter said. "It would also gravely infringe upon the voting rights of New York’s citizens for which you could be held accountable.We understand LATFOR has already received from [the Department of Correctional Services] the information needed to make the reallocation required by Part XX and redraw the district lines accordingly.
"We respectfully insist you to do so immediately."

41b605292032732350_ywm6b9eg3

Read More

Comments [1]

It's A Free Country ®

Prisoner Census Data Likely to Shake Up Redistricting Efforts

Monday, July 18, 2011

Newly released Census data makes it possible for New York's prisoners to be counted at their home address rather than their jail cell. But internal divisions in the state redistricting committee and a lingering lawsuit leave the reapportionment process in doubt.

Comment

WNYC News

Candidate Selected to Run for Weiner's Seat Says He's Not a 'Placeholder'

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Democratic Assemblyman David Weprin said he wasn't chosen to be a placeholder when he was selected by Democrats to run for the seat left vacant by disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner, a position that may face elimination under redistricting.

Comment

It's A Free Country ®

Tax Caps and Sippy Cups: Leftovers From the Albany State Legislature

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

[Redistricting reform] has to be passed by another session of the legislature, then go to a public referendum. It's essentially pushing it off until the next Census, giving Senate Republicans a chance to go through the next election cycle and draw the lines for this one.

Glenn Blain, Albany bureau reporter for the New York Daily News, on The Brian Lehrer Show.

Comments [10]

It's A Free Country ®

Last Call for Anthony Weiner

Friday, June 17, 2011

If somebody runs in a special election and is victorious and serves in Congress just to fill out the term and then leaves, are they eligible for a congressional pension?

— A question from a caller to The Brian Lehrer Show.

Comments [23]

It's A Free Country ®

From Redistricting to Resigning, Pressure Mounts on Weiner

Thursday, June 09, 2011

If Anthony Weiner is seen as being toxic to this kind of core constituency for Democrats nationally, he becomes a liability to the party as they’re heading into an election season.

Colin Campbell, City Hall News reporter and blogger at The Brooklyn Politics.com, on The Brian Lehrer Show.

Comments [14]

It's A Free Country ®

Where Prisoners Get Counted as Citizens and Why it Matters

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Justice Department just approved New York's right to count prisoners in their home districts, rather than in their county of incarceration. How will that change the state legislative map in a year when redistricting reform already has blood boiling in Albany?

Comment