This amendment was supposedly created by the legislature to fix the brazenly partisan redistricting process in New York State. But the proposed language is, in the end, mostly toothless. Here are the disappointing highlights, as reported this morning by The New York Observer's Colin Campbell:
To add insult to injury, this highly flawed amendment would take effect in 2022 (my co-worker pointed out that he had never heard that year said out loud before…it's that far from now).
What New York needs is a non-partisan commission to draw the lines. Districts should have the same number of people. The commission should bring in census experts to understand what it means to create a district that is focused on electing a candidate that represents a minority.
The experts and proposals are out there. It's possible to find non-partisan experts to serve on the commission. The public is behind a fair process, in so much as they understand and care about the issue (it's pretty wonky, you can't blame them). Prisoners can be counted fairly.
This amendment is a scapegoat that offers little to no real reform. Being that it was only released last night, it's too early to say what the likelihood is that it will be the "reform" promised by many legislators.
Here's hoping it's not.