Syracuse Post-Standard calls for end to prison-based gerrymandering

Editorial praises larger reforms but reminds reformers to include a fix for prison-based gerrymandering.

by Peter Wagner, June 30, 2010

The Syracuse Post-Standard today reiterated an earlier call for New York to end prison-based gerrymandering.

Today’s editorial Reform Redistricting in New York: Bills are moving; there’s still time to install a fair process decried the gerrymandering that is endemic in New York State, and praised reform efforts currently moving forward in the legislature:

The current redistricting process is political conflict of interest of the first order. Instead of allowing voters in a district with geographic or demographic integrity to choose their state Assembly and Senate members, lawmakers in effect “choose their voters” by designing districts with one overarching criterion: to ensure their re-election.

The editorial ends with a call to include prison-based gerrymandering in any larger reforms:

One other thing: Companion legislation would end the nonsensical practice of counting state prison inmates as “residents” of the localities where they are incarcerated, for redistricting purposes. There’s no good reason why the 2,500-plus state prisoners being held in Cayuga County should help determine legislative district boundaries in that county — or why the 1,900 Onondaga County residents serving time elsewhere should not be counted in their home county. The sensible measure deserves to be part of the reformed redistricting process.

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