Frequently asked questions
Jump to a question:
Where can I read Fair Maps for Broome's lawsuit?
All substantive documents filed by both sides can be found on our Lawsuit Updates page.
Does your organization or litigation have anything to do with the state legislative maps or the U.S. congressional maps in New York?
No. Our effort is only about the legislative districts of Broome County, NY. The maps for the New York Assembly and Senate as well as the Federal congressional districts are not a part of our effort or litigation. These maps are made by different people and regulated by different laws than the Broome County map.
Why is the map illegal?
For decades, gerrymandering has been a recurring practice in the counties of New York, resulting with the enactment of redistricting maps at 10 year intervals that gave the party in power a distinct advantage at the polls. However, on October 27, 2021, Governor Hochul signed into law a new statute intended to “ensure an end to that practice, and promote fair and non-partisan drawing of lines … subject to the state and federal constitutional requirements ensuring fairness and equity, and in furtherance of the principle of ‘one person one vote’” (Statement of Gov. Hochul’s office, of October 27, 2021, introducing the new law).
Unfortunately, neither the spirit nor the letter of NY’s new redistricting law were adhered to with respect to the adoption of the map approved for Broome County. The approved map presents numerous failures under the new law, but primary are the facts that the law’s primary and overriding requirement that populations of the districts be as nearly equal as is practicable was ignored, as was its requirement that towns not be divided if it’s practicable to avoid doing so. Here, the approved map unnecessarily divides of the Town of Maine, not once, but twice, with all of this clearly benefiting the majority party’s chances of maintaining its majority at the polls. The proper way, indeed the only way, of challenging newly approved gerrymandered Broome County map, while at the same time seeking to enforce the new statute intended to do away with such is by challenging the map in a court proceeding, and that is why we are proceeding to do so.
Isn't this just gerrymandering, which is unfortunate but legal?
No. New York State has a new law that sets standards for drawing local legislative districts. The law states clearly that: “Districts shall not be drawn to discourage competition or for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring incumbents or other particular candidates or political parties.”
Who is harmed by the enacted map?
Everyone in the county is harmed because unfair districts mean that the legislature as a whole does not represent the people of the county as a whole.
Some people are particularly harmed: the Town of Maine is divided into three parts, so that there is no one representative looking out for its interests. Some districts have more than the average population, meaning that each person’s vote is worth a little less than the votes of people in under-populated districts.
Where can I find more information on the map selection process?
Here's the county's link to the redistricting documents: https://www.gobroomecounty.com/legis/ad-hoc-and-special-committee-documents