LATFOR announces that it will comply with New York’s law that forbids prison-based gerrymandering

LATFOR announces at a public hearing in Albany that it will count incarcerated people at home in order to comply with New York law.

by Leah Sakala, August 4, 2011

New York’s Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) announced today at a public hearing that it will fully comply with last year’s law that ended prison-based gerrymandering.

LATFOR’s agreement to follow the law is good news for New York’s democracy. By counting incarcerated populations at home, LATFOR will be able to propose redistricting plans that are consistent with the legislature’s decision that a New York voter’s residential proximity to a prison has no business determining the strength of his or her vote.

LATFOR’s announcement was made on the heels of an outpouring of media coverage, testimony, and letters from legislators, civil rights advocates, and New York citizens who are all working to keep prison-based gerrymandering out of New York.

Most recently, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblyman Jack McEneny released a statement yesterday calling on LATFOR to respect the law:

Last year, the Legislature passed a law requiring that prison inmates be counted in their home communities rather than their incarceration address for the purpose of redistricting. The Assembly Majority believes that complying with the law as written is not only the prudent thing to do, it is also the right thing to do. In order to comply with the law, Assembly staff have been working with the original inmate records provided by Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to ensure inmates are counted properly. Our work is nearly complete and the results will be made public in the near future.

We urge our task force members to join with us, ensuring compliance with both the letter and intent of the law. This is the responsible action for the Legislature to take. Regardless of any personal political stance on the prison count issue, we encourage all task force members to join us in our effort to fully comply with the law as it is written

The Albany Times Union published an article on the same topic earlier today.

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