New York’s state legislature has one of the highest rates of incumbency in the nation. Over the past 24 years, only 34 incumbents running in 2,520 general election contests have lost their seats to challengers. During the past 35 years, Republicans have controlled the state Senate and Democrats have controlled the state Assembly without interruption – the longest time in the nation for a state to have a divided state legislature.
Under the current system of redistricting, the majority party leaders of both houses essentially determine how district lines will be drawn, allowing them to manipulate district lines to suit their political aims. They choose their voters and shield themselves from competitive races well before the voters have a voice in deciding who represents them.
In order to ensure more competitive elections, and a legislature that is more responsive to the diverse needs and concerns of its constituents, Citizens Union supports bringing political reform to the way in which congressional and legislative district lines are drawn through the establishment of an Independent Redistricting Commission and adoption of strict redistricting guidelines to ensure fair and competitive districts.
- December 14, 2010 — CU Testimony to Senate Task Force on Reapportionment Calling for an Independent Redistricting Commission
- May 4, 2010 — Testimony to Senate Investigations and Gov Ops Committee on Redistricting Reform and Senator Valesky Legislation (S.1614-A)
- October 24, 2007 — Testimony to the New York State Assembly Committee on Governmental Operations and the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment
- April 28, 2006 — Statement of Principles of Redistricting Reform
- New York State Redistricting Resources
- Citizens Union Testimony at Assembly Hearing-October 2006
- Complete transcript of the hearings and the NAACP’s addendum to their testimony
- Drawing the Line: Redistricting and Non-Competitive Elections in New York State Citizens Union Foundation with the School of Public Affairs, Baruch College, CUNY hosted, a half day symposium on legislative redistricting on April 28th. Click here for conference materials, candidate statements, and a link to a streaming video of the event