NYT blasts Little over “prison gerrymandering’

The New York Times editorial page weighed in yesterday on a suit to block a law that ends New York’s practice of counting prison inmates at their prison-homes when it comes to drawing electoral districts. The Times calls it prison gerrymandering:

…the cynical practice of counting prison inmates as “residents” to pad the population of legislative districts.

It’s “all about self interest,” says the Times. Principle beneficiary and lead plaintiff  is state Sen. Betty Little of Queensbury:

…whose upstate district contains 11 state correctional institutions, one federal prison and an estimated 12,000 inmates. According to an analysis by the Prison Policy Initiative, a research group based in Massachusetts, Senator Little’s current district is one of seven in New York that meet federal population requirements by counting inmates as residents.

Read the full editorial here.

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8 Responses to “NYT blasts Little over “prison gerrymandering’”

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  1. Pete Klein says:

    I would just like to know who is paying for the law suit. If Little is paying, I don’t have a problem. If the tax payers are going to foot the cost, then I do have a problem.

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  2. Bob S says:

    I agree that prisoners should not be counted as residents of the districts in which they are imprisoned. I also believe that college students should not be allowed to vote in local elections simply because they go to school in the locality.

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  3. josef says:

    Agree with Bob S on prisoners. Not on students. College students use services like any other resident. Many students stay year-round and some end up stay to work after college. Big difference.

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  4. Whew, in wanting the political power to return to NYC, I’m glad the NYT isn’t acting in self-interest.

    Bottom line: on April 1, 2010, prisoners are residents of their prisons. That’s the standard by which censuses are conducted.

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  5. scratchy says:

    The Times articles- like almost all newspaper editorials- can hardly be considered worth the paper it is written on.

    The somewhat condescending tone of the article relies on unsubstantiated assertions and ignores that the policy of the Census is to count people where they live at the time of the Census.

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  6. tootightmike says:

    Prisoners should be held in or near their home districts.

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  7. Bret4207 says:

    I don’t think prisoners or college students should be counted in the local census. If you aren’t “here” by choice with the intention to live there then you aren’t a resident really, are you?

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  8. Will Doolittle says:

    College students are “here” by choice, prisoners aren’t. And it’s not enough to say the Census counts people where they live at the time of the Census. How do you define “live?” Certainly not by where someone “is” at the time of the Census — because many people are away from their homes — where they live — at the time of the Census, and many of them are away for long stretches. Yet they are counted where they “live” — their homes — not where they are, wherever that may be.

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