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Disapproval continues through final Onondaga County redistricting public hearing

New York State Senator Rachel May, D–Syracuse, speaking to the Onondaga County Legislature on Wednesday night.
Madison Ruffo
WRVO Public Media
New York State Senator Rachel May, D–Syracuse, speaking to the Onondaga County Legislature on Wednesday night.

The Onondaga County Legislature heard the final public comments Wednesday night about the proposed redistricting map before lawmakers vote on it. And there was a very obvious theme among the 27 residents who spoke: vote no.

This was the sixth of a series of public hearings regarding the county redistricting maps and the only one scheduled after the county's reapportionment commission approved the Republican-drawn map to move forward to the full legislature.

Among the residents who spoke, all of whom condemned both the map and the timeline of the reapportionment process, was State Sen. Rachel May (D-Syracuse).

May, who represents central New York, said that the way the proposed map divides the county is disenfranchising some voters.

“I think it's fair to say that pretty much all of the area of the county that is predominantly racial or language minority groups is underrepresented,” said May.

Her comments were joined by other elected officials like Syracuse Common Councilor Joe Driscoll.

“You know, these aren't drawn in the interest of fairness and that it's basically cheating,” said Driscoll. He continued to suggest that this process sets a precedent. “This teaches people that the game is rigged and it's alright to rig the game as long as you win.”

Syracuse Common Council President Helen Hudson shared similar sentiments.

“As a public servant, it is your job to hear the public,” said Hudson.

She added that she views this as a very partisan process that prioritizes political gain over democratic representation.

“You're picking and choosing who you want to vote for you, instead of letting the voters choose,” she said.

John Deer, a Manlius town councilor, noted that every remark made was against the proposed map.

“There has been absolutely no attention paid to a single public comment,” he said. “I don't know–has there ever even been a single person to speak up in favor of these maps.”

Hudson said that this map and process would prove so detrimental to Onondaga County residents that the impact extends beyond party lines.

“When we sink, we're going to all sink together,” said Hudson. “We won't sink as Republicans and we're not going to sink as Democrats. We're going to sink as people.”

The county legislature will vote on the map on Friday.

Madison Ruffo received a Master’s Degree from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, where she specialized in audio and health/science reporting. Madison has extensively covered the environment, local politics, public health, and business. When she’s not reporting, you can find Madison reading, hiking, and spending time with her family and friends.