Legislative gerrymandering and politicized redistricting processes are at the root of many of the ills of our political system. Drawing electoral district boundaries to aid a particular candidate or party get elected is an undemocratic practice that reduces electoral competitiveness, discourages change to the existing power structures, and often splits apart communities unjustly.
Citizens Union has long supported independent and fair redistricting for all legislative districts in New York State and has been involved in advocacy and litigation on the topic for decades. Over the last decade, the United States Supreme Court has slowly removed more and more federal protections against gerrymandering, leaving the task of fair map-drawing to each and every state.
In 2014, with the support of Citizens Union, New Yorkers voted to amend the state constitution to create an Independent Redistricting Commission and ban gerrymandering. Unfortunately, the State Legislature ignored the will of voters in the 2021-2022 redistricting process, bypassing the Commission process and drawing highly partisan maps, leading to judicial intervention in the map-making process and a chaotic election year. More work is needed to build upon the progress made by the 2014 constitutional amendment and make the redistricting process more independent and fairer.
In New York City, Citizens Union has been working to make the City Council redistricting process more open, fair, and independent. In 2022, we ran a citywide community education program, which offered free trainings and resources to groups in all council districts to help New Yorkers engage in the Council redistricting process. See more about our Council Redistricting program here.
Legislative Agenda – Redistricting
In 2023, Citizens Union will focus on needed reforms to the state and city redistricting process, looking ahead to the redistricting cycle that will follow the next decennial census.
Citizens Union supports the following reforms to redistricting. To see Citizens Union’s full 2023 policy agenda click here.
Make New York’s redistricting process fairer and more independent
- Reform the constitutional redistricting process by reducing the influence of legislative leaders over the Independent Redistricting Commission, making the commission less partisan and more diverse, reducing the potential for deadlock, and eliminating the Legislature’s veto power over final maps – CU priority
- Reform the New York City Council redistricting process by making the Districting Commission more independent, open, and transparent – CU priority