County Legislature eyes weighted voting

Census shows population growth, city loses representation power

Don't be surprised if, at some point, you hear The Schenectady County Legislature passing a resolution 13.0122 to 1.9878.

County Attorney Christopher Gardner has proposed the county pursue a weighted voting system after the 2010 Census data revealed the voting power of representatives is out of line with how many people they represent. Democratic county legislators generally seemed to favor this proposal during the Tuesday, April 12, meeting, but Minority Leader Robert Farley, R-Glenville, said the weighted voting proposal would result in his district losing representative power.

They don't want to turn around and upset their 13-to-2 majority, it is all about politics, said Farley after the meeting.

The legislature approved a public hearing to be held on the proposed weighted plan during the next regular meeting on Tuesday, May 10, at 7 p.m. New census information has District 1 with 32,717 people, 10,905.7 per legislator of three; District 2 with 33,418 people, 11,139.3 per legislator of three; District 3 with 51,261 people, with 10,252.2 per legislator of five; and District 4 with 37,331 people, with 9,332.75 per legislator of four. The weighted voting proposed would have District 1 legislators casting 1.0572 votes each, District 2 legislators casting 1.0799 votes each, District 3 legislators casting 0.9939 votes each and District 4 votes weighted at 0.9048 per legislator.

Gardner said in his proposal that if the legislature followed the county charter as written, nine new legislators would be required, increasing the 15 representatives to 24, which would increase the legislature by 60 percent.

"In order to avoid the huge increase in the size of government, and to avoid the potential mischief of single-member districts, which could encourage gerrymandering the proposed reapportionment plan would retain the current legislative boundaries and proceed to rectify inequalities in voting strength through weighted voting," said Gardner in his letter to legislators.

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