New York City Council Redistricting

City Council Current.JPGRedistricting -- the redrawing of political district lines -- takes place every 10 years, after new Census data are released. Current district lines have been major barriers to Asian-American political participation. The New York City Council redistricting process is starting to pick up, and as we have done in the last two decades, AALDEF will propose new council district lines that reflect the City's Asian American population growth.

Who is responsible for redistricting New York City Council districts?
A special Redistricting Commission is responsible for the redistricting process in New York City (not the task force that handles New York State assembly, senate and congressional redistricting). This Redistricting Commission has 15 members, eight of whom are appointed by City Council, and seven of whom are appointed by the Mayor. The Commission must make its redistricting plan available to public for inspection and comment by September 5th, 2012, and then present the plan to City Council by November 5th, 2012.

Download AALDEF's testimony at NYC Council redistricting hearings:
Manhattan public hearing
Brooklyn public hearing

2013 Redistricting Calendar

Deadline

Action

Jan. 5, 2012

The Mayor was required to convene a meeting with all of the appointing/recommending authorities (City Council) to establish a screening and selection process for ensuring that NYC's racial and language minority groups protected by the federal Voting Rights Act, will be fairly represented on the Commission. N. Y. CITY, N.Y. CITY CHARTER, ch. 2-A, Section 50(b)(2)(2004).

May 5, 2012

The City Council must make appointments to the Commission. N. Y. CITY, N.Y. CITY CHARTER, ch. 2-A, Section 50(c)(2004).

June 5, 2012

The Mayor must make appointments to the Commission. N. Y. CITY, N.Y. CITY CHARTER, ch. 2-A, Section 50(c)(2004).

Sept. 5, 2012

Commission makes redistricting plan available to public for inspection and comment. N. Y. City, N.Y. City Charter, ch. 2-A, Section 51(b) (2004).

Oct. 5, 2012

Commission must hold "one or more" public hearings about plan. N. Y. City, N.Y. City Charter, ch. 2-A, Section 51(b) (2004).

Nov.5, 2012

Commission submits district plan to City Council for approval. N. Y. City, N.Y. City Charter, ch. 2-A, Section 51(c)(2004).

Nov. 26, 2012

Council can formally file objections to initial plan. Formal objections from the Council require a vote passed by a Council majority and are presented to the commission along with a statement of the Council's objections. Individual Council member objections separate from the Council's formal objections that are filed by this date are also passed on, either with the formal objection or independently. N. Y. City, N.Y. City Charter, ch. 2-A, Section 51(d)(2004). U.S.C. 1973.

Jan. 5, 2013

Commission submits revised plan for public and Council inspection and comment (if Council has formally filed objections to plan). N. Y. City, N.Y. City Charter, ch. 2-A, Section 51(d)(2004). "The commission shall hold public hearings and seek public comment on such revised plan." N. Y. City, N.Y. City Charter, ch. 2-A, Section 51(e)(2004).

Mar. 5,  2013

Commission submits a final plan, following consideration of the public and Council comments, to the Council. N.Y. City, N.Y. City Charter, ch. 2-A, Section 51(e) (2004). Commission submits final plan to the Department of Justice for preclearance.

July 8-11 2013

N.Y. Elec. Law Section 6-158 (Consol. 2007). Petitions must be signed by 5% of the district or 900 individuals, whichever figure is less. N.Y. Elec. Law Section 6-136 (Consol. 2007).

Sept. 10, 2013

Primary election

Nov. 5, 2013

General election


Approval - Once the plan is presented to the City Council, the plan will be deemed adopted unless the City Council, by majority vote, passes a resolution objecting to the plan.

Preclearance - The Commission is responsible for submitting the plan to the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division (DOJ) or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for preclearance pursuant to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

In New York City, New York County (Manhattan), Kings County (Brooklyn) and Bronx County are covered jurisdictions under Section 5. This requires proof that the proposed City Council redistricting plan does not weaken the voting strength of racial and ethnic minorities in those counties. If the jurisdiction is unable to prove the absence of such discrimination, the District Court denies the requested judgment, or in the case of administrative submissions, the DOJ objects to the change, and it remains legally unenforceable. Interested members of the public can submit comment letters to the DOJ requesting the DOJ to approve or deny preclearance.

Criteria for the districts - applied and given priority in the order in which they are listed N.Y. CITY CHARTER, ch. 2-A, Section 52(1) (2004):

1) Population. The difference between the most populous and the least populous council district must not exceed 10% of the average population for all council districts. Any such differences in population must be justified by one or more of the other criteria stated in the City Charter. N.Y. CITY CHARTER, ch. 2-A, Section 52(a) (2004).

2) Fair and effective representation. The redistricting plan must be established in a manner that ensures the fair and effective representation of the racial and language minority groups in New York City which are protected by the Voting Rights Act. N.Y. CITY CHARTER, ch. 2-A, Section 52(1)(b) (2004).

3) Communities of Interest. District lines should keep intact neighborhoods and communities with established ties of common interest and association, whether historical, racial, economic, ethnic, religious or other. N.Y. CITY CHARTER, ch. 2-A, Section 52(1)(c) (2004).

4) Compactness. Each district must be compact and cannot be more than twice as long as it is wide. The redistricting plan must be established in a manner that minimizes the sum of the length of the boundaries of all of the districts included in the plan. N.Y. CITY CHARTER, ch. 2-A, Section 52(1) (d)(g) (2004).

5) Contiguity. Each district must be contiguous, and whenever a part of a district is separated from the rest of the district by a body of water, there must be a connection by a bridge, a tunnel, a tramway or by regular ferry service. N.Y. CITY CHARTER, ch. 2-A, Section 52(2) (2004).

6) Political boundaries. A district cannot cross borough or county boundaries. If any district includes territory in two boroughs, then no other district may also include territory from the same two boroughs. N.Y. CITY CHARTER, ch. 2-A, Section 52(3) (2004).

NYC City Council Population and Districts of Interest for Asian Americans

With 51 seats, the ideal City Council district size is 160,297 people. Each district can deviate from this number by a maximum total deviation of +/- 10%. The population for the boroughs with large numbers of Asian Americans is as follows:

Redistricting Table.JPG

Map of Current City Council Districts

The following districts are of particular concern for Asian Americans:

Queens - Queens City Council Districts

District 20 - Flushing and portion of Bayside (currently 64.1% Asian American)

District 23 - Floral Park/Bellerose/Queens Village/Glen Oaks and portion of Bayside (36.6% Asian American)

District 25 - Elmhurst and Jackson Heights (34.5% Asian American)

Brooklyn - Brooklyn City Council Districts

District 38 - Sunset Park (32.7% Asian American)

Manhattan - Manhattan City Council Districts

District 1 - Chinatown (35.9% Asian American)

The Commission must release their redistricting plan to the public by September 5, 2012 and must hold public hearing regarding their plan by October 5, 2012. AALDEF will again be meeting with community organizations to develop a map proposal that protects the voting strength of racial and ethnic minorities, to submit to the Commission in advance of the September 5, 2012 deadline.

Contact:
Jerry Vattamala
212.966.5932 ex.209
jvattamala@aaldef.org

Download the New York City Council Redistricting Fact Sheet [pdf]


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