Two Republicans side with Democrats, but Onondaga County Legislature approves controversial redistricting maps by one vote

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — In a special session vote Friday morning, the Onondaga County Legislature approved the enacting of maps that redraw the boundaries of its 17 districts. 

The resolution passed 9-8. 

Two Republicans, Legislators Ken Bush, and Jim Rowley joined all six Democrats to vote against it. 

The maps were drawn by a special commission made up of six members, four appointed by or representing Republicans and two appointed or representing Democrats. 

Democrats say this version of the maps, redrawn every 10 years based on the latest Census data, are “worse” or more beneficial to the Republican Party than the current map of the last ten years. 

Democrats have consistently criticized the Republican-controlled process, which they consider “rushed.” They hoped more months of work would encourage more members of the public to engage in the debate. 

Democrat Legislator Mary Kuhn said, “It wasn’t citizen-led nor directed. Citizen input was not considered.”

Republican Leader Brian May said, “All of the comments were heard and taken very seriously.”

In his concerns about the new shape of his district, Democrat Bill Kinne said, “It’s not thought out very well or done blatantly on purpose.”

“I no longer would live in the district I represent,” said Democrat Peggy Chase. 

Democrats feel they have an opening to legally challenge the Republican-drawn maps based on a newly enacted state law focused on redistricting, but Republicans have said they feel the maps meet the standard. 

Changes to the districts in writing are posted as part of the law change on the Onondaga County Legislature’s website.

Candidates will run for the new districts in the 2022 election. 

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