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December 06, 2016
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Submitted plans eliminate Hinchey’s district; Special master to redraw districts

Buerkle has sent a letter to the judge asking her to reject both proposals because, “These proposed districts were not drawn based on compactness, geography, or commonality of interests, but for purely partisan reasons.”

It’s a charge that many agree with. Common Cause of New York, which has drawn its own set of maps that have also been submitted to Mann, has complained bitterly about the process. Susan Lerner, executive director, said in a press release, “As they have for decades, the Democratic majority in the Assembly and the Republican majority in the Senate produced electoral lines to protect their political interests, at great cost to the public interest.”

Two candidates from near Ithaca, who would have been running for Hinchey’s seat, spoke about the redistricting process.

Dan Lamb, a long-time aide to Congressman Maurice Hinchey who lives in the western reaches of district, said he is disappointed. He said the two versions submitted are “irreconcilable” and because the legislature could not come up with a solution, the magistrate must now decide what happens.

He said, “It’s short-changing the voters; the primary is on June 20.” Voters don’t know who they will be voting for, and candidates, such as Lamb, don’t know exactly where they will be running.

Lamb said he thinks the districts drawn up by Common Cause NY are preferable to the two produced by the legislature. He said, “Those maps are easy to defend. They achieve a goal of putting about 717,000 in each district, and try to find a sense of common purpose geographically” in each district.

In the same general area of Hinchey’s district, near Ithaca, Leslie Danks Burke is also running for office even though she is not sure of the shape of her future district. She said, “Anything is possible at this point. I will run regardless of where I am put. I am a Democrat running and it doesn’t appear to be geographically possible to put me into a district with an incumbent Democrat,” so she will ultimately be running against a Republican.

Asked if there is a better way to do redistricting, she said, “I am not an Albany insider, so I’m not familiar with all the ins and outs. But looking at this from the outside, it does appear to be very confusing to the voters, and the voters don’t know, just three or four months before the primary, who they will be voting for and I think that’s problematic.

Regarding the shortened campaign process because of redistricting, she said, “Well, it’s an expedited schedule certainly. But I’m fortunate because I launched my campaign back at the beginning of February and raised a great deal of money and support. I raised over $100,000 in my first week of fundraising, so that says there are a lot of people who are interested in my campaign regardless of where it ends up being located.”