NY Law Journal - The coronavirus pandemic will likely complicate the timing of New York’s redistricting efforts ahead of the 2022 elections, but members of the commission charged with redrawing districts for the state’s U.S. House of Representatives, State Senate and State Assembly districts said Tuesday that 2020 census data is only part of what they have to consider. . .
Commission members John Flateau, chairman of the Department of Business Administration at the School of Business, Medgar Evers College, CUNY, and Harris Beach member Jack Martins, a former state senator, said public input will be a key part of the redistricting process. . .
Panel participants José Peréz, deputy general counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF (formerly the Puerto Rican Legal Defense & Education Fund), and Jerry Vattamala, director of Democracy Program Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, spoke about the importance of preserving neighborhoods so that communities of color have electoral power.
Vattamala showed the maps of Asian American communities of interest created during the 2011 redistricting process. Organizers sat down with community members to ask them the boundaries of their neighborhoods, down to the street, and then discussed what characteristics the neighborhood shared, including everything from common subway lines, major employers or elementary school assignments to a common nation of origin, language or religion.
“Once we have the boundaries established, we then ask them for a narrative to accompany this map—why is this a community of common interest?” he said, adding that people tend to be “really happy” to talk about their communities and what makes them unique. . .