Lachman proposes creating a “panel of distinguished citizens, perhaps including a few legislators” who would create three redistricting plans and submit them to theÂ legislature. The legislature would then have to approve one of these plans, and could not create its own. It is certainly an interesting idea, and presents a promising option for states where creation of an independent commission is not a realistic possibility.
- By taking away direct control of redistricting from the legislature, new maps are almost certain to be an improvement on current districts
- It eliminates the legislature’s ability to draw its own lines, while leaving a limited role in the process for the legislators.
- The proposal could and should include strict rules for respecting communities of interest, compactness, contiguity, and the like.
- More competitive elections – the likely consequence of reform-driven redistricting – should make legislators more responsive to theirÂ constituents and, due to shorter terms and increased scrutiny, less likely to engage in the corruption currently plaguing theÂ New York state legislature.
- Adoption of the plan could create momentum for either increased independence of a redistricting commission and/or expansion of the plan to U.S. Congressional districts
Potential disadvantages of the proposal:
- The plan is open to influence and pressure from state legislators, who might over influence panel selection, essentially negating its ability to create fair districts
- There is no guarantee that the panel would be able to agree on three possible plans, or that any plan could gain a majority in both Houses
- There are no limits stated yet on who can be a member of the panel, meaning that people with significant connections and wealth could gain more access
- The New York State legislature is unlikely to approve any measure that decreases its control, and without an initiative process in New York it is unlikely to ever become law