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Interactive redistricting software adjusts Census data for New York

by Aleks Kajstura, January 4, 2012

New York residents, so far facing a shortage of accurate redistricting data, are provided a partial solution by two new district mapping tools available online.

New York law requires that redistricting population data count incarcerated people at their home addresses. And although New York’s Legislative Task Force on Redistricting (LATFOR) is required to release the adjusted redistricting data, it has yet to do so. This poses a problem for the state’s residents and organizations that want to propose their own redistricting plans for consideration by the LATFOR.

Two online interactive redistricting tools make some of the required data available: The Public Mapping Project‘s District Builder and Common Cause/Newsday collaboration, UMapNY.

District Builder and UMapNY both use population data that account for half of the prison-based gerrymandering problem: while these tools could not count incarcerated people at their home addresses, the prison populations were removed form the population totals of the locations with the prisons to give a more accurate reflection of the state’s population distribution. Both tools use our analysis of the Census Bureau’s Group Quarters data to adjust the population of the 79 Census blocks that contain correctional facilities affected by the law.

These tools allow the residents of NY State to create draft maps with the most accurate redistricting data available so far.

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