The Cortland County Redistricting Commission is looking at two maps to finalize its redistricting process that, if approved by the legislature, would reduce the number of seats on the county’s legislative body from 17 to 15.
As part of the apportionment process that occurs every 10 years after the U.S. Census figures are released, the county is sought to redraw its legislative boundaries to be able to provide fair representation to residents based on updated population figures.
Census data indicates there has been a 5.1 percent decline in population across the county since 2010. It has spawned questions regarding the number of county legislative seats moving forward.
For every district, there must be a 5 percent increase or decrease from a proportional number of residents per district. In the county’s case, a 15-seat legislature means the district must stay within 5 percent more or less than approximately 3,121 residents. This number is the total Cortland County population divided by the 15 districts.
Both map options presented by the Redistricting Commission on Monday have an ideal population of 3,121 per district. The variation of 5 percent means districts can be anywhere from 2,965 to 3,277.
The guidelines stated by the state regarding redistricting state localities have to prioritize staying within that 5 percent range, as well as work to keep communities of interest together. Communities of interest are typically defined by state as those that share religious affiliation or ethnic demographics.
If approved by the legislature, which could come in April, according to commission co-chair Cathy Bischoff (D-LD-3), the new maps would take effect in 2027.
“No one is gonna get everything they want, but most of what they want,” said commission co-chair Kelly Preston (R-LD-10). “(Bischof) and I worked diligently to satisfy (the state’s) criteria. We got most of the village of Homer together. Cortlandville had an issue with so many reps. The town board wanted fewer people in the leg. This is the map we could come up with.”
A more detailed discussion of Monday’s meeting can be seen here.