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League of Women Voters of Chautauqua brings proposal to legislature

Photo by Katrina Fuller Minda Rae Amiran, vice president of the League of Women Voters of Chautauqua County, and Mary Croxton, president of the League of Women Voters, visited the Chautauqua County Legislative Administrative Services meeting on Tuesday afternoon to discuss a proposal for a six-person redistricting committee.

MAYVILLE — The League of Women Voters of Chautauqua County brought a proposal before legislature members on Tuesday regarding a six-person redistricting committee. According to Minda Rae Amiran, League vice president, the Chautauqua County Charter and Administrative Code Review Commission has put together a proposal laying out the guidelines for such a commission that has not yet been acted upon by the legislature.

Amiran told the members of the Legislative Administrative Services Committee that the proposal would call for the County Legislature to confirm a multi-partisan commission which would evaluate the existing county legislative districts.

The proposal states that the members would be appointed by unanimous agreement of the two majority leaders and two minority leaders of the county legislature and consist of two registered voters from each of the two political parties with the largest number of active and inactive registered voters. Only one of each of those pairs can be an elected official, and no one else on the commission can be an elected official. Likewise, no member of the commission can be a political party chair, the spouse of a political party chair or the spouse of an elected official.

The commission would then study the population data, and within six months after appointment, make recommendations to form a proposed local law regarding changes in legislative district boundaries that would then be effective at the end of the terms of office of incumbent County Legislatures.

Before making recommendations, the commission would request comment from the Board of Elections, Amiran said, which would allow the board to assess if certain district re-drawing would save taxpayer money done another way. She said in some circumstances, a district being drawn one way could cost more money while if it was drawn another way it wouldn’t cost more.

She said the resulting plan would have to be approved by at least four members of the commission.

Amiran said the proposal has not yet been acted upon by the legislature, and she is not sure why. She said she has heard two objections to the plan: that it should be voted on by the next legislature and that legislators themselves are most knowledgeable about redistricting.

Committee Chair Bob Scudder, R-Fredonia, said he was not aware that the proposal had not gone forward. He said there was “no intention” for it not to go forward.

“I think it’s good you’re bringing this to our attention,” Scudder said.

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