Court Submissions and Court Drawn Plans
The US District Court for the Eastern District of New York has enlisted the aid of a special master to draw redistricting plans for implementation if the state fails to produce plans of their own in a timely manner. We have uploaded plans submitted by the parties to the litigation, public submissions, and plans drawn by the court into our competition software. Using the software you can explore and evaluate the following plans as an anonymous user. You may also overlay one plan with another to see how they differ. If you create an account of your own, you can additionally draw your own districts by starting from scratch or using these plans as a starting point for your own mapping.
The New York Legislative Task Force has released final and draft plans. The state plans still require Department of Justice approval per Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and a court is considering a challenge to a Senate plan composed of 63 districts, as opposed to the current 62. Until these issues are resolved, the courts may decide to intervene by adopting their own plans to rectify any constitutional or statutory violations.
Congratulations to the University at Buffalo Law School for submitting the first place Congressional plan and to George Mason University's, Lee Sparrow for submitting the winning State Senate plan. The Assembly map proved especially challenging, however Fordham University was awarded an Honorable Mention for their extensive efforts. The 2012 New York Redistricting Project congratulates all the teams that submitted plans, and we are grateful for the broad support we have received on this project. We encourage you to visit the Competition Winners page to view the first place Congressional and State Senate plans and to click on their individual tabs to read their full narrative justifications. It is also our hope that you will continue to pay close attention to redistricting in the weeks ahead as LATFOR releases their official plans.
Legislative redistricting is conducted to redraw electoral districts, most commonly in response to a national census to reflect changes in population. Over time, the process has become routinely dictated by the party in power and unfairly denies voters a competitive choice. By limiting competition, both major political parties have been allowed to fortify their legislative majorities within the confines of backrooms and under the cloak of secrecy.
Now, new, easy-to-use and freely-available software enables citizens to design maps and to submit these to the state legislature for adoption consideration. This software promises to usher in a new era of greater public input into the redistricting process
To foster awareness of the new opportunities available to become involved in the redistricting process, the Center for Electoral Politics at Fordham University and the Public Mapping Project have launched the “2012 New York Redistricting Project.” The initiative is generously funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
As part of the project, we sponsored a student competition. We challenged teams of students representing New York colleges and universities to design New York State’s congressional and state legislative districts. The mission of the competition was to build public awareness about redistricting in New York and to facilitate hands-on experience in using the available software tools. Students produced Congressional and state legislative redistricting plans that were judged upon the
following criteria: contiguity; compactness; equal in population; in compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act; encompassing communities of interest; and respect for existing political subdivisions. Also each team was required to submit a detailed narrative justification for their map. An award of $1,000 was issued to the teams that produced the winning Congressional and State Senate plans. An Honorable Mention was awarded to the best Assembly submission, as judged by a panel of redistricting experts.
Another major aspect of the 2012 New York Redistricting Project was the series of workshops the project either sponsored or co-sponsored at different universities and institutions across New York. They featured a panel discussion as well as a demonstration of the free mapping software, District Builder. We are very pleased with the amount of individuals we were able to directly introduce to the software. We are also grateful to the panelists who made presentations at our events and hopeful for more cooperation in the future as New Yorkers continue to engage the issue of redistricting. A special thanks also goes out to our co-sponsors and hosts. Without them, the workshops would not have been possible. Workshop information, including the dates, panelists and locations can be found here.
**Stay involved with our new Facebook Page! Like the "2012 New York Redistricting Project" on Facebook and receive Facebook updates on our events and the student competition.
University At Buffalo Law School