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Politics and Government

New redistricting map approved by Onondaga County Legislature

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Onondaga County Legislative Chairman David Knapp addressing his fellow legislators at their December 21, 2021 regular session.

After eight public hearings, one veto, and six drafts, the Onondaga County Legislature has approved a new county redistricting map.

The approval of the Republican-drawn map comes highly contested by county Democrats and many local residents.

“Obviously, I'm not happy with the maps,” said Legislator Chris Ryan. “I mean, I don't think that they're, I think some towns are unnecessarily broken up, committees of interest are broken up and there are villages that that should have a representative in their backyard instead of on the other side of the lake so.”

During the December 21 session, Ryan sponsored a local law that would amend the county charter to extend the reapportionment timeline another year. Despite support from his fellow Democrats and some legislators across the aisle, his proposal failed in a 9-8 vote.

“We should have taken a pause and step back to do some more due diligence and so that we could come to a consensus as we would try to do here,” he said.

In regards to delaying a process that many have criticized as rushed, Legislative Chairman David Knapp said changing the charter is not the answer.

“To change the code, and potentially the charter over a one-time event I think is not prudent,” said Knapp. “I think it's short-sighted and reactionary.”

Prior to this decision, County Executive Ryan McMahon vetoed the originally passed Republican-drawn map both for too high of a population deviation and underrepresentation of Black residents in the 16th District.

Knapp said the new Republican-drawn map, which was approved in a 9-8 vote, fixes both of those issues as best as it can. He even compared the redrawing process to that of solving a Rubik’s cube.

“When you're trying to fix one side, you know, you're so happy you've got that all one color, and then you turn it over and you've totally destroyed all the other sides,” he said.