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NAACP opposes new re-districting proposal

By Juan Soto

The Jamaica branch of the NAACP called on all New Yorkers to vote no on Proposal 1 when they head to the polls on the Nov. 4 Election Day.

Proposal 1 would amend the state Constitution when it comes to redrawing the state legislative and congressional lines after every ten-year census change.

“Proposal 1 takes us back to the dark ages of discrimination,” said Leroy Gadsden, president of the Jamaica NAACP branch. “We refuse to sit idly by and watch others run back the hands of time on progress in America.”

If the proposal is approved, it would establish a 10-member commission. Both the majority and the minority leaders of the state Senate and the Assembly would each appoint two individuals to the now six-member commission.

The remaining two members would be appointed by those eight individuals. The last two appointees cannot be enrolled in either the Democratic or Republican parties.

Beginning in 2020, a 10-member redistricting commission will be established.

“If the proposal is approved, a redistricting commission will be established to determine lines for legislative and congressional districts,” according to the text of the proposal.

Gadsden pointed out the proposition on the ballot “is so convoluted that the average attorney or politician cannot interpret it.”

The president of the NAACP Jamaica branch said the proposition was rushed through the state Legislature without public hearings.

If passed, the 10-member commission will hold 12 hearing throughout the state, and New Yorkers must be able to “to access and review the commission’s draft redistricting plans, relevant data and related information” before the first public hearing is held.

During the campaign, there was not much public discussion about Proposal 1.

Before sending a redistricting plan to the state Legislature, seven out of the 10 individuals in the commission must approve the plan. The governor must also pass the plan, and if the state leader vetoes the redistricting projects, then the commission must submit an alternative.

“If they cannot agree on a plan, each house of the Legislature [Senate and Assembly] will be free to complete their own plan, which will basically be about incumbent protection,” Gadsden said. “The incumbent protection plan will be submitted for the governor to sign into law,” he added.

Gadsden said the last governor to veto a redistricting plan was Franklin Roosevelt.

Reach reporter Juan DSoto by e-mail at jsoto‌@cngl‌ocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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