State of Elections

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New York’s clock continues to count down

by Alex Custin

New York’s redistricting attempts continue to show little progress towards developing a plan that both the legislature and the governor will approve.  The legislature continues to refuse to pass the redistricting commission bill that the governor proposed earlier this year.  The governor in turn has continued to state that he will veto any redistricting plan that is not formed through an independent process.  The governor has reminded the legislature that if they continue to insist upon using partisan methods to develop the redistricting plan, the courts will end up drawing the lines, and no one can truly predict what will happen if the courts get involved because of all of the changes that have to take place.

Another issue continues to add pressure on the government to develop a plan soon: the need to hold the primary early enough to be able to send absentee ballots to overseas servicemen.  New York managed to get an exemption from this requirement in 2010 – it did not have to worry about it this year because it only applies to federal elections – but its chances of getting another exemption in 2012 appear to be quite slim.  This issue adds even more complexity to New York’s election process because it appears that the government plans on keeping the current date for state and local primaries, which would mean New York would have presidential primaries in April, congressional primaries sometime around August, and state and local primaries in September.  There was some consideration given to changing the state and local primaries to match the date of the congressional ones, but in an unsurprising result, the parties could not agree on a date to change it to.  This is kind of interesting when you think about what it will mean for the congressional primaries. Perhaps the date will be set by the judge deciding New York’s suit requesting another exemption to the timeline for military absentee ballots. Continue reading

NY (redistricting): New York on the clock to redistrict

by Alex Custin

New York faces a few interesting challenges in this round of redistricting. First, a law passed last year now requires inmates to be counted in the district they’re from rather than where they’re imprisoned. Second, New York is losing two congressional districts. Third, the governor has threatened to veto any redistricting plan that’s a political gerrymander. Finally, the requirement that military absentee ballots be sent out 45 days before the election means that New York has to hold its primaries earlier than usual, and the district lines have to be determined before then. The combination of these challenges means that New York has to redraw more district lines than it otherwise would and that it has to get its act together soon in order to have a plan in time.

The first challenge will affect both districts where prisons are located and districts from which the inmates came. Since population is the usual number used in order to draw district lines, districts with prisons will have to increase in size to remain equally populated and the districts that produce large numbers of inmates will have to shrink. Continue reading

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