From The “Times Union”: Groups Slam Proposal For Redistricting Reform

By Rick Karlin for The Times Union

A trio of good-government groups is urging voters to vote against a constitutional amendment that would create what the advocates see as a self-serving sham reform of the legislative redistricting process.

“We’re calling for voters to reject the proposed amendment in November,” said Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group, who, along with Common Cause’s Susan Lerner and Effective NY’s Jesse Laymon, held a Monday news conference excoriating the redistricting plan. The blueprint was part of a larger budget-season deal cut by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders in March 2012.

The critics argued the change would leave the process in control of incumbent lawmakers, and perpetuate what they pointed to as absurd examples of gerrymandering — the drawing of districts to fit the needs of officeholders.

To drive home their point, they offered up maps of districts that appeared to go to extremes to either incorporate Democratic or Republican enclaves, or to exclude or even encircle blocs of voters that might be unfriendly to a given lawmakers.

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