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Common Cause's Lerner confirms: Maps are gerrymandered


I'll give you the good news, first: The federal court that could step in and draw New York's congressional lines don't have to take seriously anything drawn by the Democrats in the Assembly and the Republicans in the Senate.
The bad news? The maps that the Assembly and Senate drew confirmed everyone's fears about political gerrymandering — the process of drawing district lines in a way that benefits incumbent politicians, not voters.
"These are not official maps," Susan Lerner, the head of Common Cause New York, said in a conference call today. "The only reason the court would have to give these any deference is if they’re passed and signed by the governor."
And unless the maps become less political in nature, "it should be vetoed," she said.
But, some more bad news, the discussions going on behind closed doors are "fueling" concern among good-government advocates, Ms. Lerner said.
In a presentation aided by a slideshow, Ms. Lerner went state-by-state to show how politicians drew the lines to help each other out.
The north country served as one example. As we've written, Democratic Rep. Bill Owens' district dips into Democrat-heavy Utica, while retreating out of more rural areas in the east of the district.
"The north country, as in the current map, isn’t very well served by the Democratic suggested plan," Ms. Lerner said. "It looks to us like an attempt to give incumbent Bill Owens more Democratic votes and make him more secure, as opposed to serving the people of the north country."
The Senate Republicans' plan sticks with the rural status quo, avoiding Utica altogether.

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