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candidates. The 60 must consist of 20 Democrats, 20 Republicans, and 20 Independents. The majority and minority leaders of the assembly and senate may each remove 2 members from each group, narrowing each to 12. Then, 8 members are selected at random, who select the final 6 members. It sounds complex but the goal is to insure balance, fairness and independence.

Iowa has a similar system in which lawmakers retain some control but oversight on redistricting is provided by a nonpartisan committee. In Iowa, a 5-member nonpartisan commission is established with the Assembly Majority and Minority leaders each choosing two members to serve on the committee. Then, the fifth member is elected by the four members already in place. The members must be registered to vote in the state of Iowa but may not hold a partisan political office or political party office or be related to or employed by a member of the United States Congress or the Iowa Legislature or be employed by the Congress or Iowa Legislature itself. The commission aids the Legislative Service Bureau in the process, and makes copies of the bill available to the public. Here, as in a few of the other states, significant steps are taken to build public confidence that the redistricting truly serves citizens rather than protecting incumbents without sufficient accountability. It is no accident that Iowa has a higher rate of competitive elections than the national average.

By examining the process and success of other states, New York may hope to achieve similar results by adopting a progressive system of equitable redistricting.

Those Who Support Independent Commissions For Redistricting Say: •

Elections become more competitive

Increased voter turnout is likely when elections are competitive and democracy is better served when citizens participate in the political process

New officials can be elected; they are likely to have new ideas, and may be more in touch with the electorate than incumbents who are not seriously challenged in campaigns.

Districts will be more compact and geographically contiguous; voters will not be stripped of their sense of community identity

The process will be more transparent

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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...