Seeking Answers On Gerrymandering
I am trying to understand the concept of gerrymandering and why the districts are the way they are in this area. Can you help explain this to me?
I don't understand what gerrymandering has to do with why a Democratic state senator from Astoria represents a park in Ridgewood which another Democratic state senator's constituents use who only live across the street from the park. Wikipedia says gerrymandering is used to give one party a stronghold in a certain area. Well, both these senators are Democrats, so why is this district the way it is?
I also don't understand why gerrymandering applies to why Maspeth has three different Democratic Congressional districts. Why am I in the 12th Congressional District and most of Maspeth is in the Ninth District?
Now my friend who lives on Grove Street between Forest Avenue and 60th Place in Ridgewood tells me her Congressional District is the Ninth, not 12th. I would think if gerrymandering applied here, she would be in the 12th Congressional District too because there are more Hispanics in Ridgewood than where I live. The 12th Congressional member is Nydia Velazquez.
I would really like to understand these 2 districts. Why do these people represent who and what they do if gerrymandering applies? I don't understand how it can in these two instances. I feel the way these districts are set up are hurting their constituents more by being the way they are than being one and the same district.
Editor’s note: Gerrymandering refers to the reapportionment of legislative districts conducted every 10 years according to Census results. The word itself is named after Elbridge Gerry, governor of Massachusetts in the early 1800s, who signed off on a redistricting plan that included awkwardly-shaped legislative districts designed to give his political party an electoral advantage over the opposition.
In New York, the redistricting process is conducted by state lawmakers and must be approved by the governor. To our knowledge, there is no official answer as to why districts are drawn the way they are, but the redistricting process has been criticized by good government groups who charge that much of the state’s Assembly, State Senate and Congressional districts are gerrymandered based on the political party in charge.
State lawmakers will again redraw legislative district maps in the months ahead. Activist groups such as New York Uprising are advocating for the creation of an independent commission to redraw districts based on population statistics and not politics. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also stated publicly that he will veto any redistricting plan which he believes is created unfairly.
While we cannot answer Ms. Stubbs’ question, we expect that lawmakers will provide their own answer in the weeks to come.
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