Members of Common Cause, along with State Senators Velmanette Montgomery and Liz Krueger, joined by Congressmen Hakeem Jeffries and Jerrold Nadler and City Councilmember Antonio Reynoso held a press conference on Thursday at Borough Hall to protest Proposal 1.
Proposal 1 is an amendment that would lock a redistricting plan into the New York State constitution, resulting in the underrepresentation of certain communities across the State for decades to come.
Prop 1 will come before the voters in the November 4 elections.
At the press conference, local elected officials urged voters to reject on election day what they are calling a flawed redistricting proposal that is “neither independent nor impartial.”
“Prop 1 purports to combat the cancer of partisan gerrymandering that undermines the integrity of our democracy,” said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.
“While the goal is laudable, the mechanism employed is deeply flawed. The redistricting panel that would be created by this constitutional amendment raises more questions than answers, and could lock in an unfair partisan advantage for decades. We cannot take that risk, and that is why I strong urge a no vote.”
Opponents of Proposal 1 argue, rather than setting up a fair and independent redistricting process that is responsive to voters’ concerns, the amendment would perpetuate an already broken system.
If passed, Proposal 1 would create a 10-member Redistricting Commission which a state court judge last month ruled cannot be described as “independent,” because the commissioners would be appointed by legislative party leaders, and such a description would mislead voters.
In place of actual reform, the amendment would add further confusion to an already murky constitutional provision, inviting yet more lengthy and costly redistricting litigation.
“My Senate district, 25, has over 325,000 people. Upstate Districts have an average of 290,000 or less!” said NYS Senator Velmanette Montgomery. “This reduces the power of New York City voters and is fundamentally unjust, and Ballot Proposal 1 makes this inequity a permanent part of the Constitution. Vote No on Prop 1!”
“While Prop 1 may look like a step forward, it is really worse than the current system. It sets a dangerous precedent by adding to our state constitution a committee whose rules change based on the party in power,” said Council Member Brad Lander of District 39.
“I am worried that this plan takes away the will of the voters to choose their elected officials. We need a real redistricting reform plan, not Prop 1.”