A portrait of Peter Wagner.
Peter Wagner
Executive Director
I need your help. For 14 years, the Prison Policy Initiative has been at the forefront of the movement to keep the prison system from exerting undue influence on our electoral process. Our work has changed how our democracy works in 4 states and hundreds of local governments. We've even won at the Supreme Court, but our long-term viability depends on people like you investing in our work.

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—Peter Wagner
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Phantom constituents in the Empire State: How outdated Census Bureau methodology burdens New York counties

By Peter Wagner, Meghan Rudy, Ellie Happel and William Goldberg
July 18, 2007

The impact of prison-based gerrymandering on the New York State legislature is now well-documented. But what do the rural counties do about prison populations with their own county districts?

  • Most of New York’s rural counties with large prisons reject the Census and fairly apportion political power within the county on the basis of actual — not prison — populations.
  • There are 5 counties with a district where at least 20% of its population is derived from prisoners.
  • The Chair of the Livingston County Board of Supervisors uses the prison population in his town to get more than twice as much political clout as he is entitled to.

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