Times Union: LATFOR is named as defendant, but not actually defending the law

by Aleks Kajstura, July 13, 2011

Capitol Confidential (a Times Union blog) points out that, in the lawsuit to bring prison-based gerrymandering back to New York, one of the defendants is not actually defending the law.

The Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) is responsible for redistricting in New York, but “hasn’t exactly been vigorous in defending itself in a lawsuit filed about the issue…”

This makes perfect sense: LATFOR is co-chaired by Assemblyman Jack McEneny, D-Albany and Sen. Mike Nozzolio, R-Seneca County. Nozzolio has expressed doubts about the legality of a 2010 law that directed LATFOR to count prison inmates at their last home address instead of at their jail cells. Counting inmates in jail has been derided as prison-based gerrymandering, and inflates population in upstate, rural, largely Republican areas at the expense of downstate, urban, largely Democratic precincts.

Several of Nozzolio’s Republican colleagues in the Senate, including Betty Little of Queensbury, are plaintiffs in the suit. LATFOR is so-far ignoring the new law, which is causing groups like the NAACP to cry foul.

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