BINGHAMTON, NY – A national expert on elections is warning that what he calls a flawed redistricting map could land Broome County in court.
Broome is in the process of drawing new legislature district lines based on the 2020 Census figures.
Binghamton University Political Science Professor Jon Krasno has been following the work of the ad hoc committee overseeing the process.
The map titled number 3, which is favored by Republicans, was voted out of committee on Monday on a party line vote.
It largely follows the boundaries of the existing districts which were drawn after the 2010 Census.
Krasno says the problem is that the existing map was gerrymandered to support Republicans and used the maximum deviation allowed causing Republican-dominated rural districts to have fewer people than urban districts that are Democratic strongholds.
Also, the state has since passed a law cutting the allowable deviation in half and mandating that small communities not be divided.
Democrats oppose the splitting of the Town of Maine into 3 districts as a means to add Republican votes to districts that also include the Democratic Town of Union.
Krasno, who was asked by Democrats to advise the committee, says the map should be drawn to benefit the voters, not the politicians.
“Broome is a swing county. It can go red, it can go blue. But it’s had a super majority of Republican county legislators since the last redistricting in 2011 in part because the map was drawn in a way that made that outcome likely. I think the real issue here is that the map should be fairer so that whichever party wins, should have a decent shot of winning control of the legislature. Period,” says Kranso.
Broome County Legislature Chairman Dan Reynolds, a Republican, released a statement calling the process open and transparent.
He says the proposed map does not create an advantage for either party nor any individual legislator.
And he points to a legal opinion issued by the county attorney that says the map complies with the new law.
Krasno counters that election lawyers from outside the area disagree with the county attorney’s opinion and our prepared to sue in an effort to enforce the new state law.
A second public hearing is planned for tomorrow evening followed by a vote by the full legislature.
Join the Zoom hearing here meeting code 882 7938 4989.
County Executive Jason Garnar, a Democrat, has already indicated that he will sign off on the new map if passed by the legislature.