Update: we won!
Broome County’s illegal county legislative district map has been revoked!
Fair Maps for Broome to study Broome County’s new county legislative district map to evaluate its legality
Binghamton, NY — January 15, 2024 — The super majority that has controlled the Broome County legislature for the last dozen years has done it again.
Barely a month after its final legal defeat (after more than a year of costly litigation) voided the legislative districts enacted on a party-line vote in 2021, the legislature in an even more abbreviated and less transparent process enacted a new map.
Fair Maps for Broome acknowledges that the revised map is an improvement on the previous districting plan. Then again, it would be difficult not to improve on a map ruled illegal by trial and appellate courts for obvious and easily avoidable violations of NYS law. These errors were not mere oversights; the unanimous five-judge panel of the appellate division observed they were apparently made in furtherance of a partisan gerrymander.
Fair Maps for Broome acknowledges the efforts to improve upon the previous districting plan, which had been declared illegal by trial and appellate courts for clear violations of NYS law, including apparent partisan gerrymandering. However, concerns persist that the revised map continues to favor the majority party, contravening NYS law and undermining the fairness owed to Broome County voters. Additionally, there are apprehensions that the new map might violate the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of NYS. Fair Maps for Broome is actively assessing these concerns in consultation with legal and civil rights experts to determine any actionable measures.
It is imperative to note that these issues could have been addressed through a transparent process allowing for consultation and compromise before the map's passage. Regrettably, the new map was hastily introduced, quickly passed on a party-line vote, and signed into law less than 24 hours after unanimous opposition was expressed during the single public hearing. Notably, the Legislature even voted against its own rules, rejecting a motion by Democrats to "hold over" the map for further study.
In addition to procedural concerns, the Legislature mandated the use of Broome County’s proprietary mapping tool, limiting the consideration of alternative maps. Superior and widely adopted mapping tools, utilized by other NYS counties, were available but not utilized. Technical challenges further impeded the download and evaluation of the new map before its adoption. This, coupled with the unavailability of the county’s mapping staff on the day submissions were due, raises serious questions about the democratic process.
These concerns were shared with the Broome County Executive while he was considering signing the new map into law. In fact, Fair Maps for Broome included a detailed rationale in our request that he veto the new map. Unfortunately, County Executive Garnar enacted the new map on January 12, 2024, writing:
“After consulting with our county attorney and listening to members of the public, I have signed Local Law #8 of 2023 into law, which establishes a map for county legislative districts.”
Fair Maps for Broome questions whether Mr. Garnar or the Broome County attorney did their due diligence in evaluating the new map’s legality because he signed it into law less than 24 hours after hearing about the public’s concerns. At the public hearing on January 11, 2024, members of the public informed Mr. Garner that the new map still violates the Municipal Home Rule Law of NYS and may now also violate the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of NYS.
Back in 2021 members of the public warned legislators and the County Executive that that map violated Municipal Home Rule Law. These officials insisted that map was legal, then proceeded to lose in trial and appellate court – in the process learning of a law passed in 2009 that had bearing on the case. Not the most inspiring track record for our County government.
As Congressman John Lewis stated in 2020, "the vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society." Fair Maps for Broome remains committed to ensuring that the new map upholds the equal weight of every citizen’s vote.
Founded in 2022 following the Broome County redistricting process, Fair Maps for Broome Inc. is a 501(c)4 not-for-profit civic association promoting the rights of voters, including the right to fair legislative redistricting.
Donations are not tax deductible but greatly appreciated. To donate by check, please mail a check to
Fair Maps for Broome Inc.
PO Box 1102
Binghamton, NY 13902
To donate by credit card, click here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/fair-maps-for-broome county