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political opponents, to draw district lines to ensure re-election and to provide special favors for friends.

Redistricting in the past has most frequently been used to protect the interest of

incumbent lawmakers (see New York Civic web site).

For instance in Rochester, Ms. Susan John had an extra slither of land added to her zone because she knew it had more registered voters in the political party on whose line she ran. This increase of voters in her party obviously boosted her chances for reelection.

Another incident of

gerrymandering was when Assemblyman Mr. P. Boyle of Suffolk County had his home residence strategically drawn out of the district he represented; he then either had to run for office in a new district or feel forced not to run at all. Advocates for change say that playing games with citizens has not benefited anyone but those who draw the lines. The politicians forget why they were elected to office in the first place, thereby, corrupting the system further and leaving young people and future generations the burden of fixing the government.

For years the process of redistricting has been used as a campaigning strategy, rather than serving a major purpose of insuring that funding could be distributed “justly” based on population. Critics contend that we need to change the way redistricting is executed because communities are not being given the chance to reach their full potential. Redistricting has made it possible, they argue, for corrupt politicians to become people who take what they want when they want without much accountability.

Those who contend that the current system is satisfactory argue that New York has been an outstanding state in our nation for centuries under the current system of redistricting which is completed after every 10-year census. Because New York is such a large and complex state, it is not surprising that the process is sometimes complicated or that it reflects political partisanship. After all, political parties play the major role in presenting candidates to voters, and the drawing of election district lines helps to insure that representatives will reflect party platforms. That is one good way to hold representatives and political parties accountable for their actions. Nearly all the states in the US follow the same approach as New York. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it!”


Renew New York Issue-in-Brief: Drawing the Line in New York State  

Prepared by Uniondale High School and The Wheatley School students, Doyin Akintobi, Jesse Manor, Kharolann Pierre, Candice Sejour, Daniel Wi...