The United States Constitution (Article I, Section 2) requires that a census be undertaken every ten years specifically for the purpose of determining the number of Congressional seats allocated to each state. The process of allocating the number of congressional seats to each state is called reapportionment. The process by which each state redraws its congressional districts, based on its new allocation, is called redistricting. Similarly, each state uses the census data to redraw its state legislative districts. Soon, each state will be undertaking the redistricting process using the 2010 census data.
In New York State, the state legislature is responsible for redrawing NYS congressional districts, and state assembly and senate districts. The State Constitution sets the number of assembly seats at 150 (Article III, Section 2). The number of state senate seats (at present 62) is determined by a formula described in the State Constitution (Article III, Section 4). The New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment was established in 1978 to provide technical support to the state legislature in the redistricting process. Redistricting must be in effect prior to the 2002 election and must meet the following approval requirements:
“the redistricting plan must be approved by the state Legislature and
the Governor. In addition, 3 counties of New York City (Bronx, Kings,
and New York) require that the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights
Division or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia review
and approve the plan for compliance with the Voting Rights Act��?
(LATFOR, n.d., n.p.).
Many advocates of government reform have been critical of the current redistricting process, “the Republican-controlled Senate draws its lines and the Democrat-controlled Assembly does the same,��? because impartial, nonpartisan redistricting – as originally intended by the framers of the State Constitution – has the potential to impact the reelection of incumbent politicians (NYPIRG, 2010, n.p.). To understand more about the process of redistricting and its impact on you and your community, please browse the digital and print resources available at UAlbany’s libraries, including those listed below.
Behr, J. G. (2004). Race, ethnicity, and the politics of city redistricting: Minority-opportunity districts and the election of Hispanics and Blacks to city councils. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
University Library: JS 371 B44 2004
Brunell, T. L. (2008). Redistricting and representation: Why competitive elections are bad for America. New York: Routledge.University Library: JK 1976 B74 2008
Bullock, C. S. (2010). Redistricting: The most political activity in America. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
University Library: KF 4905 B85 2010
Clarke, B. M. and Reagan, R. T. (2002). Redistricting litigation: An overview of legal, statistical, and case-management issues. Washington, DC: Federal Judicial Center.
Darling, M. J. T. (Ed.) (2001). Race, voting, redistricting, and the constitution: Sources and explorations on the Fifteenth Amendment. New York: Routledge.
University Library: KF 4905 R33 2001
Galie, P. J. (1991). The New York state constitution: A reference guide. New York: Greenwood Press.
Dewey Library: Reference: KFN 5680 1777 A6 G35 1990
Mann, T. E. and Cain, B. E. (Eds.). (2005). Party lines: Competition, partisanship, and congressional redistricting. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
University Library: JK 1341 P37 2005
Monmonier, M. (2001). Bushmanders & bullwinkles: How politicians manipulate electronic maps and census data to win elections. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
University Library: JK 1341 M66 2001
U.S. Census Bureau. (2004). Designing P.L. 94-171 redistricting data for the year 2010 census: The view from the states. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration.
University Library: GovDoc J 85 C 3.2:V 67/2
Winburn, J. (2008). The realities of redistricting: Following the rules and limiting gerrymandering in state legislative redistricting. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
University Library: JK 1341 W56 2008
Yarbrough, T. E. (2002). Race and redistricting: The Shaw-Cromartie cases. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.University Library: KF 4905 Y37 2002
Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. (n.d.). Redistricting. Retrieved from http://www.brennancenter.org/content/section/category/redistricting/
Cooper, M. (2010, Sep. 25). How to tilt an election through redistricting. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/26/weekinreview/26cooper.html?_
Davey, M. (2010, Sep. 27). Winners and losers in reapportionment. The New York Times. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/27/winners-and-losers-in-reapportionment-are-predicted/?scp=1-b&sq=Redistricting+and+Reapportionment+ny&st=nyt
LATFOR. (n.d.). NYS legislative task force on demographic research and reapportionment. Retrieved from http://www.latfor.state.ny.us/
NYPIRG (2010, Nov. 11). Reform New York: Redistricting. Retrieved from http://www.nypirg.org/goodgov/reformny/redist.html
The Association of the Bar of the City of New York. (2007). A proposed New York State Constitutional amendment to emancipate redistricting from partisan gerrymanders: Partisanship channeled for fair line��?drawing. Retrieved from http://www.nycbar.org/pdf/report/redistricting_report03071.pdf
If you have any questions about researching the redistricting process in New York or the United States, please contact Dick Irving, our Political Science and Public Administration Subject Specialist. He can be reached at 442-3698 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blog post created by Lauren Stern and Dick Irving