With a court battle still pending, Assembly Democrats have released updated population figures for use during the redistricting process, counting prisoners at their last-known address rather than where they are incarcerated.
Where to count prisoners for redistricting purposes has been a sticking point as we move closer to 2012, when the lines must be redrawn. Last year, with Democrats in control of the Senate, the Legislature passed a law requiring inmates to be counted at their home address. A groups of Senate Republicans, who took back the majority this year, sued earlier this year to have it declared unconstitutional, but the case is still pending.
The figures will have a major impact on the current redistricting battle, with several current upstate districts — mostly Republican districts — taking a big hit. The task force charged with redrawing the lines has pledged to follow the current law as they wait for a court to decide its legality.
With the release of the new prisoner-adjusted numbers, downstate districts generally gained population, with upstate districts taking a hit.
Republican Sen. Betty Little’s district, which includes parts of six counties in the North Country, took the biggest net loss at 11,610. Little is the lead plaintiff in the Senate Republicans’ lawsuit.
Other upstate Republican districts taking a hit are Sens. John Bonacic of Mount Hope, Orange County (-5,333); Michael Nozzolio of Fayette, Seneca County (-4,438); and Patrick Gallivan of Elma, Erie County (-7,119). Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, D-Brooklyn, saw her district take the biggest net gain at 1,979.
In the Assembly, North Country Republican Janet Duprey saw the biggest net loss at 7,715. Democrat David Gantt of Rochester saw the largest gain, at 1,484.
Here’s a district-by-district look at the net losses and gains in both the Assembly and Senate, courtesy of the Assembly Democrats: