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BPRHA Senate Redistricting Comments

BPRHA Senate Redistricting Comments

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Published by: JimmyVielkind on Apr 11, 2012
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Assemblyman Karim CamaraChairmanAssemblyman William ScarboroughFirst Vice-ChairAssemblyman Eric StevensonSecond Vice-ChairAssemblywoman Vivian E.
Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson
TreasurerSenator William PerkinsParliamentarianAssemblyman Francisco P. Moya
Eric L.
AssemblywomanCarmen E. ArroyoAssemblymanJeffrion L. AubryAssemblywomanInez D.
AssemblymanWilliam F. Boyland, Jr.Assemblyman
Nelson L
AssemblywomanBarbara M. ClarkAssemblyman
Marcos CrespoSenator
Martin M.
AssemblymanHerman D. Farrell, Jr.AssemblymanDavid F.
AssemblywomanVanessa GibsonAssemblyman
Carl Heastie
AssemblywomanEarlene Hooper
Shirley L. HuntleyAssemblymanHakeem JeffriesAssemblymanGuillermo LinaresAssemblywoman
Grace MengSenator
Velmanette MontgomeryAssemblymanFelix Ortiz
Kevin S. ParkerAssemblywomanCrystal D. Peoples-Stokes
SenatorJose R
. PeraltaAssemblyman
. Nick PerryAssemblymanJ. Gary PretlowAssemblyman
Phil RamosSenator
Gustavo RiveraAssemblymanJose RiveraAssemblywomanNaomi RiveraAssemblymanPeter M. RiveraAssemblymanSamuel D. RobertsAssemblywoman
Annette Robinson
AssemblymanRobert J. Rodriguez
SenatorJohn L
SampsonSenatorMalcolm A
Andrea Stewart-CousinsAssemblywoman
Michele R
AssemblymanKeith L.T. Wright
Benita L
. Lewis
ROOM 442-A, LEGISLATIVE OFFICE BUILDINGALBANY, NY 12248(518) 455-5347 • FAX: (518) 455-4535
April 10
T. Christian Herren, Jr.Chief, Voting SectionCivil Rights DivisionUnited States Department of Justice950 Pennsylvania Ave., NWRoom 7524 – NWBWashington, D.C. 20530Re:
Section 5 Submission Regarding the New York State Senate 2012-1445
Dear Mr. Herren:As Chair of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian LegislativeCaucus, which consists of 48 minority members of the New York State Senate and Assembly;I write to urge the Attorney General to object to the pending Section 5 submission of the NewYork State Senate for S. 6696 which provides for a new redistrict plan for the New York StateSenate.The Attorney General should object to S.6696 because the New York State Senate hasfailed to meet its burden of showing that S. 6696 “neither has the purpose or will have theeffect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or membership in a languageminority group. 42 U.S.C. Section 1973c(a). In addition, S. 6696 contains 63 New York Senateseats, a change from the existing plan that has 62 seats. Upon information and belief, the NewYork State Legislature also used a different methodology to calculate the number of districts inS. 6696 than was used in the existing plan. Both of these changes constitute a change in“standard, procedure with respect to voting that must be precleared.Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, a districting plan impermissibly “denies orabridges the right to vote” if it “has the purpose or will have the effect of diminishing theability of any citizens of the United States on account of race or color [or membership in alanguage minority group] to elect their preferred candidates of choice.”42 U.S.C. Section
 T. Christian Herren, Jr. Page 2 April 10, 201242 U.S.C. Section 1973c(b). The increase in the size of the New York State Senate from 62 to 63
the location of new senate seat upstate New York rather than downstate where the majority of Black andother minority votes reside will have a dilutive effect on the vote and voting strength of Black and otherminority residents of New York.In 2010, according to the Census, the population of New York was 19,378,102. Of that total,8,175,133 people lived in New York City. In other words, nearly 50 percent of New York’s residents live inNew York City. The majority of New York’s Black residents and other minorities also reside downstate,particularly within New York City. According to the 2010 Census 1,861, 295 Black people lived in City of NewYork: 416,695 Black people lived in the Bronx; 799,066 in Kings County; 205,340 in New York County;395,881 in Queens, 44,313 on Staten Island, Of the 1,861,295 Black people residing in New York City, 1,421,101 lived in the three counties covered by Section 5 (the Bronx, Kings, and New York).Likewise, the majority of the Hispanics in New York State also live in New York City. Accordingto the 2010 Census, 2,236,076 Hispanics reside in New York City. Of the 2,236,076 Hispanics who live in NewYork City, 1,641,275 live within the five counties covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. In particular,741,413, Hispanics live in the Bronx, 496,285 in Kings County, 403,577 in New York County, 81,051 on StatenIsland.Similarly, the majority of Asians in New York State reside in New York City. Indeed, seven out of ten Asians in New York State reside in three boroughs of New York City, Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.According to the 2010 Census, 1,028, 119 Asian Americans who live in New York City, 508.334 live inQueens, 177,524 live in Manhattan, and 260,129 live in Brooklyn. In short, of the 1,028, 119 Asians who livein New York City. 437,753 live two of the counties (Kings and New York) covered by Section 5 of the VotingRights Act.However, despite the substantial difference in the population between upstate and downstate NewYork, the new State Senate seat is located upstate, instead of downstate. The new Senate seat was locateddownstate rather than upstate, I believe, because the Senate majority wanted to create a new White majoritydistrict in the hope of maintaining their majority in the New York State Senate. For example, in the new state
T. Christian Herren, Jr. Page 3 April 10, 2012Senate district, Senate District 63, Whites make up 61.24% of the population, Black people constitute 30.8% othe population; Hispanics constitute 5.30% of the population, Asians 2.62% of the population.Furthermore, while the deviations in Senate districts in New York City range from +3.47% to+3.83%, the deviations in Senate districts upstate New York range from 0.19% to 4.9%. All of the New York City Senate districts have populations that are 3.47% or 3.83 above the mean population. By contrast, of the 26upstate Senate districts, 23 districts have populations that are 4% below the mean. The total deviation, therange between the most populous districts, for the Senate plan is 27,034 people or 8.80% of the ideal districtpopulation. Moreover, the 26 overpopulated New York State Senate districts (Senate Districts 10-34 and 36)contain 29% of the Black citizens of voting (CVAP) , 71.28% of the Hispanic CVAP and 72.86 of the AsianCVAP. By contrast, the 26 under-populated upstate Senate Districts (Senate Districts 38-63) contain 21.21% of the Black CVAP, 14.08 of the Hispanic CVAP, 13.04% of the Asian CVAP and 55.92 of the White CVAP.There are no legitimate consistently applied state polices which justify these populations deviations.
Problems With Certain Individual Senate Districts
In addition, the New York State Senate plan, S.6696, splits or cracks certain long established and emergingcommunities of interest. These districts include the following:
(South Queens) -- Splits off the area west of the Van Wyck Expressway which forms acommunity of interest with the area east of the Van Wyck.
(South-East Queens) – Cracks the Jamaica Estates community by cutting in and out of thearea. Not compact.
(Central Brooklyn and East Brooklyn ) – Splits Flatlands area. The appendage of MarinePark should be eliminated.
(Central Brooklyn) – Cracks both Crown Heights and Prospect Heights. To prevent this, thenorthern boundary of SD20 should be placed at St. Marks Place. Also the two cultural icons contiguous to SD20, the Brooklyn Museum and the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, should be placed in the district.The hammer-shaped appendage which places a portion of Boro Park of West Brooklyn into SD20 should beeliminated.
(Central Brooklyn and South Brooklyn) – Cracks both the communities of Flatbush andFlatlands. All of Flatbush should be united in SD21. Prospect Park and Greenwood Cemetery should be part of SD20.
(Central Brooklyn) – Cracks both traditional Black communities of Crown Heights andProspect Heights. The North-East area of Bedford Stuyvesant and all of Prospect Heights should be included inSD25

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