After weeks of speculation about a 63rd State Senate District, Common Cause/NY has drawn a 63 district reform plan.
As a preface to this plan, Common Cause NY reiterates our opposition to the addition of a 63rd Senate seat. In our view, the State Constitutional formula clearly calls for 62 districts. But considering that public will likely be presented with an official Senate plan draft from LATFOR with 63 districts, we feel it is important to demonstrate what a 63 district plan drawn with non-partisan, good-government criteria would look like.
It’s also important to point out that according to the actual population distribution in the state; any new 63rd seat belongs in New York City.
In the current 62 seat Senate plan, there are 25 Senate districts upstate and 28 within New York City and Southern Westchester (two districts cross Bronx-Westchester). This apportionment is already skewed – the 25 upstate districts are under-populated at an average of -2.82%, and the 28 downstate districts (not including Long Island) are over-populated at an average of +2.23%. The current plan was drawn to create an extra district upstate, with one less district in New York City.
In a 63 seat plan with an additional upstate district, upstate districts would have to be under-populated by close to -4%, with districts in New York City over-populated at a similar level.
In contrast, adding a 63rd seat in New York City would produce districts that are almost equal in population in the true spirit of the constitution’s principle of “one person, one vote”. In the CC Reform Senate 63 Plan, the 25 seats upstate have a mean deviation of -0.49%. The 29 seats in New York City and Southern Westchester have a mean deviation of -0.43%.
This plan is fully adjusted for the reallocation of state prisoners to their locations of residence as per LATFOR’s official dataset.