Deadline extended to apply for Cortland County Redistricting Commission’s Advisory Committee position

(Photo Source: Cortland County website).

The Cortland County Redistricting Commission extended the deadline to apply for a position on the Redistricting Commission’s Advisory Committee by a 3-2 vote at a recent meeting.

The original deadline, which was Feb. 13 at 5 p.m., has been stretched out to Feb. 22 at 11:59 p.m., said clerk of the county legislature Savannah Hempstead on Friday.

Hempstead noted that appointed city elected officials, town municipal leaders and at-large Cortland County residents can apply for a position. 

Those interested in serving on the County’s Redistricting Commission Citizens Advisory Committee can apply here. Any questions or difficulty applying can reach out to Hempstead at 607-753-5048.

Hempstead noted the application asks questions such as:

  • What experience or knowledge do you have relevant to the redistricting process?
  • What experience or knowledge do you have to allow you to understand and apply applicable state and federal requirements with redistricting and voting rights?
  • What experience do you have in demonstrating impartiality?

Hempstead mentioned that “no question on the application will exclude (applicants) from the ability to be appointed. The questions are to get background on the applicants.”

Redistricting Commission chair George Wagner made the motion at the committee’s recent meeting to extend the deadline.

“We received (eight at-large applications) out of a population of almost 49,000 people,” he said. “I was expecting a pool of applications to choose from. I feel we need more time to (bring in) more applications.”

Wagner encouraged the rest of the Redistricting Commission members to “call people you know, and see if they’d be interested in filling out an application.”

Redistricting Commission members Beau Harbin and Cathy Bischoff voted against extending the deadline.

“The reason (for voting against it) was there were enough applications to choose (from) and have a selection at that point,” Hempstead said on Friday.

“We have all of the applicants, and the deadline has passed. Can we not just make a decision based on these applications?,” Harbin said at the meeting earlier this week. “We do have a solid group of individuals who are qualified to be on the commission. They represent certain parts of the county.”

Harbin also noted the committee can invite more county residents “to come and talk to us” and provide public comments.

“We did what we could do (to get applicants),” Bischoff said. “There are enough applicants to choose from for the committee.”

County Planning Director Trisha Jesset, who expressed she is nervous about the flow of the timeline to approve the redrawing of legislative districts, offered to provide options for the committee if the current members were to consider it.

Instead, the committee voted narrowly in favor of extending the application deadline. Wagner said he is hoping “for at least 20 applicants to choose from” with the application extension.

County residents can submit public comments here in regards to the redistricting of the Cortland County Legislative Districts. Public comments can also be sent to [email protected]. All comments are read at each Redistricting Commission meeting.