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Common Cause reacts to new congressional maps
March 20, 2012 - Chris Morris
Common Cause/NY, the good-government advocacy group that fought for independent and fair redistricting in New York state, is weighing in on the new congressional maps.
On Tuesday, the group released a statement from its executive director Susan Lerner, on the new maps, which were set by a panel of judges because the state Legislature failed to present its own plan.
Lerner said the court's plan is a "key victory" for voters, "not only in product, but process.
"The map is a stark departure from the Legislature's gerrymandered version to produce a far better result, demonstrating beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is in fact no practical impediment to drawing fair maps, only a political one," Lerner said. "Judging by traditional redistricting principles and communities of interest, this is the best Congressional district plan New York has seen in decades."
The new maps create a 21st Congressional District that includes most of the North Country and nearly all of the Adirondack Park.
In fact, Common Cause put out its own maps in December 2011 that closely resembled the court-ordered maps. Lerner said she was pleased that her group's recommendations were taken into account.
She also noted that her group drew its maps in a matter of days. The Legislature had several months to produce congressional maps and still failed to put forth a joint plan, Lerner said.
"Because of the court's outstanding efforts, voters now have a map which disregards incumbency and party politics to produce more competitive elections, and hence, a stronger democracy," Lerner said. "The court rightly rejected the notion that the benefits of incumbency are so self-evident that incumbents should be aided by a thumb on the scale at the time of reapportionment. Our constitution is designed to protect the public interest, not the self-serving interests of the Legislature."
Lerner added that Common Cause is still committed to permanently reforming New York's redistricting process.
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