2. How will the ten-member independent commission (“the Commission”) be appointed?
Each of the four legislative leaders will appoint two members, and two additional members will be appointed by a vote of not less than five of the original eight members. These two additional members will not have been enrolled in either of the two major political parties in the preceding five years. For the first time, the redistricting process will include equal representation among the four legislative leaders and appointees not of the Republican and Democratic parties.
LATFOR is comprised of six members, with two each from the majority parties in each house with only one each from the minority party, effectively giving the majority parties full control of the process, ignoring the views of the minority parties.
3. Who will be able to serve?
Rules prohibit those with conflicts of interest from serving on the Commission. Precluded from serving are: anyone who has served in the last three years as a New York legislator, statewide elected official, member of congress, and their spouses, legislators’ staff, lobbyists, state officers, state employees, or party chairs. To the extent practicable, the appointments will reflect the diversity of the state and result from consultation with outside groups.
Four of the six members of LATFOR are legislators.
4. How will the Commission approve a redistricting plan? Will an even-numbered Commission create gridlock?
A supermajority vote – seven out of ten votes – by the Commission will be required to send a redistricting plan to the legislature, which can be passed by majority vote of the legislature, encouraging collaboration and cooperation. If control of the legislature is split between the two major parties, the plan will have to have at least one vote from each of the two major party appointees. If the legislature is controlled by one party, those seven votes will have to include at least one vote from the appointments of each of the four legislative leaders to ensure that there is no major party dominance. If no plan gets seven votes, the plan with the highest number of votes will go to the legislature, but approval of such a plan will require at least 60 percent approval in the legislature.
The members of LATFOR appointed by the majority – four of the six – control the process and draw the lines with little to no input from the appointees representing the minority parties. Those lines are then provided to the legislature and passed by the majority party controlling each house.
5. What additional voting procedures will ensure inclusion of the party out of power in case one party controls both chambers?
In order to protect against one-party dominance in the drawing of lines, if one party controls both houses of the legislature, approval of a plan will require a 2/3 affirmative vote in each house.
A simple majority is required for any district plan provided by LATFOR. Consequently the majority parties in each house completely control redistricting from drawing the lines to passing them.