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Thursday 8 December 2022
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Input From Renowned Voting Rights Experts May Result in New County Redistricting Maps

New maps will comply with federal, state, and local law and put people— not politics— first.

In the Community: From the Office of Adam J. Bello

Photo from https://www.monroecounty.gov/news-2022-10-06-maps

Renowned voting rights experts Dr. Lisa Handley and Jeffrey Wice recently joined Monroe County Executive Adam Bello to weigh in on the problematic redistricting maps under consideration by the Monroe County Legislature. 

Dr. Lisa Handley is president of Frontier International Electoral Consulting, which conducts election-related research and statistical analysis, offering tools for measuring voting patterns and evaluating redistricting plans. 

Jeffrey Wice is long-time counsel to the New York State Legislature, and has assisted in all congressional and state legislative redistricting processes since the 1980 cycle. His legal scholarship and practice is focused on redistricting, voting rights and census law.

Their input will be used to create a new, legally sound map the County Executive will produce as soon as possible for the Legislature’s consideration.

“The current map under consideration isn’t good for our community in general, and it certainly isn’t good for the community those promoting this map purport to support,” said County Executive Bello. “The only people benefitting from this map are those legislators currently supporting it. This is a process that should have been independent, but was not. Instead, the process was guided by self-interest and aimed at confusing the public in order to pursue political goals.”

The proposed map, supported by Legislature President Sabrina LaMar (LD 27), Legislator Rachel Barnhart (LD 21) and Republican allies, purports to create five majority Black districts (LDs 22, 25, 27, 28 and 29) in order to protect voting rights of Black residents of the City of Rochester.

Through a meticulous and detailed statistical analysis of historic election data, Dr. Handley concluded that Legislative Districts 22, 25, 27, 28 and 29 are already effective Black districts – meaning that Black residents in those legislative districts now and historically have been able to elect their candidates of choice.

The Barnhart/GOP map takes these five already effective Black districts and unconstitutionally packs them with additional Black voters, diluting their voting power. To do this, the map takes one nearly effective Black district – LD 21—and guts it of Black voters to create a safe, majority white district – rather than seeking to make the district more effective.

“Now that we have an unbiased, expert analysis provided by two highly-credentialed individuals, I believe we must cool down the rhetoric surrounding this process and start over,” said Bello.

To assist in that effort, the Bello administration will craft a redistricting map that relies on the data analysis conducted by Dr. Handley and complies with all applicable legal requirements under federal, state and local laws, including the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.

Handley serves as an independent election consultant for international organizations including the United Nations and her clients have included the U.S. Department of Justice, the American Civil Liberties Union, numerous state and local jurisdictions and more than a dozen countries. She has also served as an expert in dozens of redistricting and voting rights court cases.

Wice has assisted numerous state legislative leaders, members of congress and other state and local officials on redistricting and voting rights matters across the country. He is a Senior Fellow with the New York Census and Redistricting Institute at New York Law School, a Fellow at the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School and has taught election law at Hofstra Law School and the Touro Law Center.

For additional info visit https://www.monroecounty.gov/news-2022-10-06-maps.