As part of an ongoing collaboration between The New York World and the Center for Urban Research to examine the impacts of the current redistricting effort in New York State, we jointly analyzed the expected electoral impact of the boundaries for state Senate and Assembly districts proposed by New York's Legislative Task Force on Redistricting (LATFOR).
The results, featured today in the Times Union and at the New York World website, revealed that the new boundaries for state Senate and Assembly districts proposed by LATFOR would increase the number of seats held by the majority parties in both chambers. We based our analysis on 2010 election data available from LATFOR's website. Our goal was to determine the results of state legislative elections held within the new districts if voters cast their ballots in the exact same way as they did in 2010, the most recent election year for State Senate and Assembly. Briefly, we found that:
- In the State Senate, the Republican Party’s 32-to-30 majority
would expand to 34-to-29 if each voter cast his or her ballot in support of the
same party as in the 2010 elections.
- In the State Assembly, the 98-to-50 advantage the Democrats enjoyed following 2010’s elections would also increase, to 102-to-48.
Interactive maps available at the New York World's website and from the Center for Urban Research provide context and visual comparisons of current districts with LATFOR's proposed lines.
Partisan gains like these on both sides underscore the high stakes with redistricting. Although LATFOR strives to follow constitutional requirements as well as statutes such as the Voting Rights Act in drawing new lines, an underlying component to the redistricting process focuses on the likelihood that both parties will continue, if not strengthen, their control in the state legislature.
Many have argued that the partisan aspect of redistricting has helped weaken the democratic process in Albany. As CUNY's own Douglas Muzzio (political science professor at Baruch College) noted, "[y]ou can't put a good face on this. It gives real empirical weight to the argument that there is total partisanship in redistricting."
The New York World is an online news initiative from the Columbia Journalism School focused on deepening the public's understanding of the ways city and state government shape life in New York City.
The Center for Urban Research at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) works with faculty and graduate students to organize basic research on the critical issues facing New York and other large cities in the U.S. and abroad, collaborates on applied research and information dissemination with public agencies, nonprofit organizations, foundations, the media, and other partners, and holds forums and workshops on urban research undertaken at the Graduate Center and CUNY.
Related projects include:
- the Center's interactive redistricting map of New York State;
- The New York World's news reports on the impacts of redistricting;
- mapping data created by the Center and provided online for public access; and
- other analyses of Census data by the Center in New York and across metropolitan America.