Proposed Legislative Amendment on Redistricting
- Provides for redistricting legislative seats by a 5-man commission after each federal census, subject to review by the Court of Appeals and replaces redistricting by statute.
- Mandates equal population districts and forbids gerrymandering and sets forth other districting standards.
Section 2. Following each federal decennial census, senate and assembly district lines and congressional district lines are to be redrawn by a five member commission appointed as follows: one each by the temporary president of the senate, the speaker of the assembly, the minority leader of the senate, the minority leader of the assembly and the chairman by the court of appeals. Senate and assembly districts shall be as equal as practicable in total population, compact and contiguous, and shall wherever practicable utilize the boundaries of existing governmental units and natural geographic boundaries, but no city block may be divided. Such standards shall also govern congressional districting to the extent permitted by federal law. Gerrymandering for any purpose is prohibited. Such redistricting plan shall have the force of law, subject to review by the court of appeals, and replaces redistricting by statute.
Section 2. a. Following every federal decennial census the senate, assembly and congressional districts shall be established by a redistricting commission of five members appointed before March first of the calendar year following such census, as follows: one each by the temporary president of the senate, the speaker of the assembly, the minority leader of the senate, the minority leader of the assembly, and the chairman by the court of appeals. Any vacancy on the commission shall be filled by the appointing authority. The commission, by not less than a majority of its members, shall certify to the governor, redistricting plans for the senate and the assembly before the end of such calendar year, and for the congressional seats allotted to New York state within ninety days following such allotment, or before the end of such calendar year, whichever is later.
b. The certified plans of the commission shall have the force and effect of law except that the court of appeals at the suit of any citizen shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine any action contesting all or any part of any such plans.
c. The districts shall be as equal as practicable in total population as determined by the federal decennial census. They shall be contiguous and compact; and, wherever practicable, pre-existing political subdivision boundaries and natural geographic boundaries shall be used as district boundaries. Gerrymandering for any purpose is prohibited. No city block shall be divided. The standards set forth in this section shall govern redistricting of congressional districts to the extent that such standards are not inconsistent with standards established by the United States.
In 1967, the New York State Constitutional Convention proposed a whole new Constitution that contained this provision and these changes to a vote of the people of the State of New York at the General Election asking "Shall the proposed new Constitution, adopted by the Constitutional Convention, and the Resolution submitting same, be approved?" The Constitution as a whole was voted down by the people, which included these changes.
Learn more on our page devoted to the 1967 Convention. The Proceedings of the Convention are available from the New York State Library and you can download a PDF copy of the Constitution proposed by the 1967 Constitutional Convention.