County Redistricting occurs separately from Congressional and state redistricting, and the process is very different for each county. Each county government determines the process for redistricting within its own county. Not all counties undergo the redistricting process. Some counties in New York elect legislators at-large, and therefore do not have separate districts. (These counties are Chenango, Columbia, Delaware)
Counties in New York fall into into two categories: Charter counties and non-Charter counties. Non–Charter counties follow the standards set by the New York State Constitution, State County Law, and the Municipal Home Rule law to establish and organize their county government. Charter counties follow the provision under the Municipal Home Rule law known as the County Charter Law, which allows counties to supersede the state standards to create a restructured county government that works best for their unique needs. Charter counties were previously allowed to adopt their own redistricting standards into their charters.
New legislation, however, sets specific redistricting standards that cannot be superseded by a county’s charter. These standards were implemented in October 2021 and will affect all redistricting plans for the upcoming year.
While all counties must follow the standards outlined in the new redistricting law, the county redistricting process is not completely uniform. Counties can still develop their own methods and timeframes when they begin their redistricting process.
Composition of Legislature: 19 members; single-member districts
Composition of County Redistricting Commission: County legislature and an 11-member, legislature-appointed temporary districting advisory commission
Timeframe for County to Redistrict: No later than ten months before the general election of the County Legislature Charter or Statute for Redistricting: Nassau County Charter, Article I, §112-113
Nassau County’s redistricting process will begin very soon. League members worked hard in 2012 to get a non- politically determined map for Nassau. We worked with several other groups including Common Cause, Latino Justice, La Fuente, Long Island Civic Engagement Table, and the Nassau County Chapter of The New York Civil Liberties Union. This coalition even developed its own map which we believed was fairer by far than the ones that the Democratic and Republican members of the County Legislature presented, but it was all in vain.
League members will work again this year to get a fair Legislative map for the county. The committee has just begun. Will we succeed? Time will tell! If you would like to be part of the action, contact Barbara Epstein, firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-221-1948 and tell her you would like to be part of this committee. It is a short- term commitment, but a very interesting experience.