Ulster County Looks to Remap Legislative Districts

Ulster County has called together a commission to remap legislative districts throughout the County.

In anticipation of the 2020 census, County Executive Mike Hein called for a newly assembled Charter Revision Commission to convene. The Commission is in accordance with the Ulster County Charter, which calls for the Commission to be formed in an effort to redistrict legislative election lines based on decennial census data. The Commission has been called to convene three years in advance in an effort to ensure equitable redistricting methods by the 2020 census.

“It is vital to ensure that the method and process for redistricting will be fair and independent when the 2020 census is published,” said County Executive Mike Hein in a statement released by his office following the first meeting of the Commission. “As stated in the Charter, `the Charter seeks to ….assure fair elections for County offices and accountability of the County’s government to its people.´It is essential to help ensure that when the time comes for redistricting, every Ulster County voter has a voice that counts and gerrymandering does not occur.”

The Commission will work to fairly redistrict the County’s 23 legislative districts. Of the 11 members selected for the Commission five were appointed by Hein, four were appointed by Legislature Chairman Kenneth J. Ronk, Jr. and the remaining four by Hector S. Rodriguez, Minority Leader of the Ulster County Legislature.

“I take great pride in the fact that Ulster is one of the only counties in New York State with independent redistricting,” Ronk said. “It is paramount in our system of representative democracy that the power to elect rests with the voters. Representatives should not be able to pick their voters. Voters should pick their representatives.”

The Charter Revision Commission must “prepare and adopt, by majority vote, a final plan for reapportionment and submit its plan to the Clerk of the Legislature on or before June 1” of 2021 according to the Ulster County Charter.