Blankenbush renews support for nonpartisan redistricting
Wednesday, March 2, 2011 - 5:03 pm

Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush said he continues to support fair, independent and partisan-free redistricting in the state.

During last year’s campaign, the 122nd District assemblyman and many other candidates pledged to former New York Mayor Ed Koch’s “New York Uprising” or to voters that reapportionment of legislative districts would be achieved through a reformed, non-partisan process.

Republican Blankebush said he is sponsoring reform legislation with Assembly Republican Leader Brian Kolb that goes beyond Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal, the Redistricting Reform Act of 2011, calling that bill “a starting point, but more can be done.

“I commend the governor’s effort in bringing redistricting reform to New York, but I know that we can do better to prevent partisan politics and special interests from infiltrating this fundamental and necessary reform, said Blankenbush.

Blankenbush said the Republican proposal makes appointments to the Independent Redistricting Nomination Committee more equitable by giving state leaders across the board two appointments each. The governor’s bill would give the executive branch the power to appoint four members while legislative leaders would receive only two, giving disproportionate influence to the governor.

Reapportionment of legislative districts, including state Senate and Assembly districts and federal districts for House of Representatives, are required after each new census, every 10 years, since district size is dependent on population. As population changes, district lines have to be reset.

It has become common practice across the country for state legislatures to “gerrymander” districts, to benefit one party or another. This has been achieved by including or excluding groups of a party’s voters concentrated in a given area, sometimes contorting district lines into unexpected and unusual shapes in the process.

Blankenbush's district includes most of St. Lawrence County