From the NY Post:
A new electoral map drawn by a federal judge last week has turned up the heat on Albany’s once-a-decade legislative redistricting fight.
But while redistricting can be a matter of life and death for individual lawmakers, the exercise is of scant practical import to most New Yorkers.
It simply makes no real difference how the salami gets sliced — because the interests of the political machines have already been guaranteed.
It’s no accident that, as Citizens Union reported last year, 96 percent of incumbents in Albany won re-election between 1999 and 2010.
As CU notes, 35 incumbent lawmakers faced no opposition whatsoever, not even from minor parties, in the 2010 general election. (And besides those who died or quit voluntarily, more than a quarter who left office between 1999 and 2010 departed either in handcuffs or under an ethical cloud, rather than via the voting booth.)
Gerrymandering — redrawing district lines to assure that incumbents keep their base — is certainly part of it.
But unless you’re among the lucky few to get the nod from party kingpins, you stand little chance of even making it on the ballot in the first place.
It well may be that no plan designed by the very pols who’d have to live with it will serve voters.
But real reform will have to go well beyond drawing new district lines — with reform of ballot-access laws being key.
Until it does, you might as well toss all the maps in the circular file.