Background on the Commission

In 2014, voters in New York State voted yes on Proposition 1, a constitutional amendment to implement historic changes with the intent to achieve a fair and readily transparent process by which to redraw the lines of state legislative and congressional districts. The redistricting process occurs every ten years, informed by data obtained by the Census. The goals of this proposal were to reform the redistricting process to introduce greater independence, and guarantee the application of substantive criteria that protect minority voting rights, communities of interest, and rational line-drawing.

By enshrining this new process in the State Constitution, the voice of the voters of New York is both reflected and protected, by ensuring that this process will not be changed without due consideration. The principle of fair and open elections was and is at the heart of this amendment, and these far-reaching reforms will set the standard for independent redistricting throughout the United States and provide a template for other states to follow.

One of these important reforms was the creation of the Independent Redistricting Commission. The purpose of creating the Commission is to make the process independent from the legislature in favor of an equally bipartisan body. For the first time, both the majority and minority parties in the legislature will have an equal role in the process of drawing lines. However, because this amendment was adopted into the New York State Constitution, this process, while happening for the first time in 2021, will be the norm for the future of redistricting in New York State.

The Independent Redistricting Commission is composed of 10 members. Two are appointed by the New York State Senate Majority Leader and Temporary President, two are appointed by the New York State Senate Minority Leader, two are appointed by the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, and two are appointed by the New York State Assembly Minority Leader. The final two members are then selected by these eight appointees. Neither can be enrolled as a Democrat or Republican in the past five years. Additionally, appointing authorities have consulted with organizations devoted to protecting the voting rights of minority and other voters concerning their appointments. The Commission members must be registered voters in New York State. Learn more about each Commissioner.

The Independent Redistricting Commission has appointed two Co-Executive Directors. Learn more about the Commission Staff.

The Independent Redistricting Commission is required to hold public hearings around the State and the Commission's release of all relevant data and draft plans to facilitate public review and public drafting of proposed district lines. Learn more about the public hearing schedule and opportunities for public comment or to submit your own map.