FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 8, 2022
City of Kingston Redistricting Map Drafts Released;
Two Public Hearings Set
KINGSTON, NY – The Common Council’s Redistricting Sub-Committee, which has been tasked with overseeing the ward map redrawing for the City of Kingston, has released two proposed redistricting plans and will hold two public hearings to solicit feedback.
The City of Kingston, like other municipalities, must redraw its current ward maps to align with 2020 Census data on local population changes. Under the City’s Charter, the Common Council must undertake this redistricting process to make the nine wards more equitable.
The Common Council President has created a Redistricting Sub-Committee, with council members Barbara Hill, Rita Worthington, and Michael Olivieri serving. The committee has released two draft redistricting plans and a Deviation and Demographics Report at Engage Kingston. Plan A represents the alternative with the least change and makes the fewest possible adjustments to the existing wards while still bringing the City of Kingston into compliance with State and Federal laws. Plan B is an example of a potential alternative that makes more significant changes using the same legal guidelines.
“I encourage everyone to visit Engage Kingston and look at the first two redistricting map alternatives and the demographics report that informs the process,” said Barbara Hill, Redistricting Sub-Committee Chair. “We look forward to discussing the process, the map alternatives, and whether the community would be interested in a Plan C with even more comprehensive changes to ward borders across the City to better reflect existing communities. We are interested in hearing from the community whether it’s important to keep the current wards as similar as possible, or if larger changes would make representation more equitable. Please join us at the public hearings or reach out via Engage Kingston with any questions.”
The first public hearing to discuss the draft redistricting plans will be held in-person on Tuesday, December 13, 2022, at the Kingston Public Library at 6:00pm.
After community input on the initial map drafts, revised drafts of the redrawn maps will be available prior to a second public hearing, which will be held at City Hall on Thursday, January 12, 2023.
The Common Council’s Redistricting Sub-Committee held an informational meeting last week to educate the public about the redistricting process and provide a timeline for the release of draft ward maps, two public hearings, and final Common Council approval. The recording can be viewed here.
The Common Council is expected to vote on the final maps before January 27, 2023.
Federal and state laws, including the Voting Rights Act and the new John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York, guide the redistricting process and require the Common Council to avoid creating districts that deny or abridge minority voting rights. Applicable statutes also impose requirements on how the Common Council configures ward boundaries and requires new maps to protect “communities of interest.” The City’s new maps may not be drawn to discourage political competition or for the purpose of favoring (or disfavoring) particular candidates or political parties.
More information at www.engagekingston.com/redistricting.