As a conservative Republican, I don’t have many hard choices come the general election. I voted for Rob Astorino for Governor, a worthy choice who deserved better than the thrashing he’s going to get at the hands of Andrew Cuomo, and for the GOP nominee for State Comptroller. There was no Republican nominee at all for Congress, State Senate or State Assembly – a particularly awful failure given that we had a Republican State Senator as recently as 2012 and the prior Republican, defeated in 2008, had been in office for over three decades. I wrote in Dick Cheney for Congress in protest, but tossed one token vote to the unopposed Democrat in the State Assembly race.
The ballot questions were another matter. Question 2 allows state legislators to read an electronic version of bills before voting, replacing a State Constitutional provision requiring that they be printed at their desks; while I appreciate the sentiment behind the original rule, I voted Yes. Question 3 borrows 2 billion dollars to put internet in schools, which I view as a waste of money better spent teaching kids the basics, so I voted No.
But Question 1 was a harder choice, and I went back and forth before making the final decision in the ballot box to vote Yes. Here’s Question 1, the purpose of which is to create a commission to do redistricting :
The proposed amendment to sections 4 and 5 and addition of new section 5-b to Article 3 of the State Constitution revises the redistricting procedure for state legislative and congressional districts. The proposed amendment establishes a redistricting commission every 10 years beginning in 2020, with two members appointed by each of the four legislative leaders and two members selected by the eight legislative appointees; prohibits legislators and other elected officials from serving as commissioners; establishes principles to be used in creating districts; requires the commission to hold public hearings on proposed redistricting plans; subjects the commission’s redistricting plan to legislative enactment; provides that the legislature may only amend the redistricting plan according to the established principles if the commission’s plan is rejected twice by the legislature; provides for expedited court review of a challenged redistricting plan; and provides for funding and bipartisan staff to work for the commission. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?”
There are arguments both principled and self-interested for both the Yes …read more