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Arguments for and against redistricting prop


Three ballot propositions will greet voters on November 4. The first asks whether the state's Constitution should be amended to change how State Assembly, Senate, and New York's Congressional districts are redrawn.

Currently, the once-a-decade redistricting process is handled by a task force of Assembly members and senators. Under the amendment, that responsibility would go to a standalone commission.

Elected officials would be unable to serve on the panel, but state legislative leaders would appoint eight of the commission's 10 members. The Legislature and the governor would have to approve the redrawn districts.

The Rochester area League of Women Voters, the Interfaith Alliance of Rochester, and the Social Justice Council of the First Unitarian Church of Rochester will hold a forum on the ballot measure from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, October 20, at First Unitarian Church, 220 South Winton Road.

Judy Weinstein, who represents the league, will argue for the proposition. Stuart Berger, who represents the Interfaith Alliance of Rochester, will argue against it.

Statewide, the League of Women Voters urges voters to support the measure. It takes the responsibility of drawing the lines out of legislators' hands and provides for a more public process, says Elaine Schmidt, a member of the Rochester chapter of the league.

"This is a step in the right direction, we feel," she says. "It's better than what we have."

But Berger says that the process would be bipartisan, not nonpartisan, which still allows for collusion between the political parties. A commission with an odd number of members, with greater stress on members who are independent of the major parties, would be a better approach, he says.