2020 Census Update: Listening and Lining Up Districts
On Monday, July 12, 2021, the ten member NYS Independent Redistricting Commission announced its new website and “Listening Tour” schedule. The website and virtual tour are designed to engage the public prior to the release of the U.S. Census Bureau’s official data in mid-August. Data from the 2020 Census will be used to draw the lines of state legislative and congressional districts. Maps will follow for additional review and public comment.
Through www.nyirc.gov, residents can interact with the newly formed Independent Redistricting Commission, sign-up to participate in the virtual tour, most commonly referred to as the public hearing schedule, identify their community of interest, and submit their version of legislative maps that ensure all communities have the opportunity to participate in the legislative process.
The goal of the Commission is to reform New York’s redistricting process by introducing greater independence, and guaranteeing the application of substantive criteria that protect minority voting rights, communities of interest, and rational line-drawing within 62 counties; five of which are coterminous with the five boroughs of New York City and do not have functioning county governments. Commission Chair David Imamura, who resides in Irvington, NY and is a member of the Westchester County Human Rights Commission stated, “We are thrilled to be embarking on New York’s first independent redistricting effort. However, this process will only work if the public makes its voice heard.”
To participate by offering testimony within the allotted three-minute timeframe, the public must sign up online, www.nyirc.gov/meetings, for the regional hearing encompassing their community of interest. The Commission encourages participants to share how district lines can be redrawn with improvements and identify local voting issues. Residents who cannot attend a hearing and would still like to participate may submit testimony through the website. All hearings will be live streamed on the Commission’s website according to the following schedule:
• Tuesday July 20th Nassau/Suffolk Counties at 2:00pm
• Thursday July 22nd Queens County at 2:00pm
• Monday July 26th Bronx/New York Counties at 2:00pm
• Thursday July 29th Kings and Richmond Counties at 2pm
• Monday August 2nd Mid-Hudson Valley/Capital Regions at 2pm
• Thursday August 5th North Country/Mohawk Valley Regions at 2pm
• Monday August 9th Southern Tier/Central NY Regions at 2pm
• Thursday August 12th Finger Lakes/Western NY Regions at 2pm
After receipt of public input and the release of the official Census data, the Redistricting Commission will release its first proposal to the public on September 15th, and then schedule the constitutionally required public hearings on the proposed map in the fall.