You are reading

Help Determine the Borders of Queens’ Electoral Districts at Meeting Thursday

New York State Capitol Building (New York State Senate)

July 20, 2021 By Allie Griffin

Queens residents will have a once-in-a-decade chance Thursday to weigh in on how their political districts are shaped.

The Independent Redistricting Commission of New York State is hosting a virtual public meeting Thursday at 2 p.m. to seek comments from Queens residents on the redrawing of district borders.

The meeting follows the 2020 census, which — along with input from residents — will be used to determine the borders of the state and congressional districts.

The district outlines will be drawn by an independent, bipartisan commission for the first time. The commission was created in 2014 in an effort to create a fairer redistricting process.

Previously, lawmakers determined the outlines of districts and would sometimes gerrymander the borders to favor their party. This has resulted in oddly-shaped districts that cut through several small sections of neighborhoods instead of representing full neighborhoods or communities.

For example, New York State Senate District 16 cuts a narrow path across Queens, encompassing parts — just a few blocks in some cases — of nine different community districts.

NY State Senate District 16 (NY State Senate)

The 10-member commission—appointed by Democratic and Republican leaders in the state legislature—must balance equitable population sizes between districts, while attempting to keep similar communities together when creating district borders.

“When voters with similar interests are drawn into a district together, their voices multiply giving them a greater opportunity to express their views, elect candidates of their choice and hold their leaders accountable,” the commission said in a statement.

Thursday’s meeting will be the first chance Queens residents can voice their opinions on the current districts and changes they’d like to see.

The commission will begin drawing the first draft of district maps after the Census Bureau releases detailed population data on Aug. 16.

The initial draft of the district maps will be released to the public for review by Sept. 15. The commission will hold another round of public hearings where residents are able to testify on the draft maps.

The commission will incorporate any feedback and create a final draft of district maps that the commissioners will vote on and certify. The maps will then be presented to the New York state legislature.

If state legislators reject the maps twice, the lawmakers will then get to draw their own maps. The Democrats— with supermajorities in both the Assembly and Senate—are theoretically in a position to unilaterally draw district boundaries.

The governor has to sign off on the maps but the Democrats have enough members to override a veto.

Those who want to share their feedback should sign up to participate on the commission website. Speakers will have three minutes to comment during the meeting.

Residents can also submit written comments through the commission website.

Queens State Assembly Districts (NYC Department of City Planning)

Queens State Senate Districts (NYC Department of City Planning)

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

These Queens eateries are participating in the upcoming NYC Restaurant Week

NYC Restaurant Week is underway, so nix that skillet and bring family and friends to your favorite neighborhood spot, or get inspired and break bread somewhere new and different. During this special citywide culinary event, food-lovers will enjoy curated menus and prix-fixe prices that are easy on the wallet.

Bookings began on Jan. 17 and are available until Feb. 12, and you can reserve a table at 30 participating Queens restaurants, along with hundreds more across the five boroughs.

Lunar New Year ‘special celebration’ held at Queensborough Community College in Bayside

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz joined Councilwomen Sandra Ung and Linda Lee on Wednesday, Jan. 18, for a special celebration in honor of the Lunar New Year at the Student Union Building at Queensborough Community College in Bayside.

Ung escaped the Cambodian genocide as a child, and her family emigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old. Now she represents Flushing with its enormous Asian American population. She said she is proud to see how many Lunar New Year celebrations she sees around the city compared to when she first arrived in Queens.