Please be advised that Brooklyn NAACP stands in opposition to Proposition 1.
Proposition 1 is a proposed New York State Constitutional Amendment which was rushed through the legislature and placed on the ballot without any public hearing or input on the issue.
The approval of this amendment will in fact be adding the 2012 LATFOR minority voter dilution redistricting plan into the state constitution as the redistricting start plan every ten years for New York State redistricting purposes. The LATFOR Plan diluted minority voting strength by creating a new election district in a predominantly white upstate area that experienced a decrease in population in order to offset the increase in population in the minority downstate area caused by prisoner re-allocation laws. This action essentially gives majority white upstate districts more voting power than downstate districts which are largely comprised of people of color. If this proposal is approved as a constitutional amendment, it will take another forty to fifty years to overturn the state constitution thus leaving us stuck with this discriminatory plan.
The prison re-allocation law passed in 2010 requires that, for redistricting purposes, prison populations be subtracted from the places of incarceration and re-allocated to the prisoner’s permanent home address. The re-allocation law which is a statutory rule is left out of Proposition 1. Therefore under Proposition 1, the legislature is free to create election districts based on prison based population as opposed to the reallocation laws because the constitutional amendment will supersede the statutory law. The abandonment of the prisoner allocation rule would result in thousands of prisoners being added to the upstate majority white voter population for counting purposes during construction of election districts. Thus further diluting the voting strength of the heavily minority populated downstate areas while increasing the voter strength of heavily white populated upstate areas for the creation of election districts and the allocation of tax dollars for community improvement in areas such as highways construction, schools, law enforcement, etc.
Proposition 1 fails to protect minority voting rights in discriminatory gerrymandering because the proposal does not contain any language affording protection and challenge to minority voter suppression and discriminatory gerrymandering. In order to prevail in a discriminatory gerrymandering case in New York, one must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, (the strict standard of proof that usually applies in criminal prosecutions) that the legislature made a serious mistake and acted in bad faith when constructing election districts in New York State. The proposal is silent on meaningful protection of minority voting rights and does not address the strict standard of proof necessary to prevail in a discriminatory gerrymandering case.
In conclusion, Proposition 1 is a modern day, new and improved version of ancient minority voter disenfranchisement plans. The addition of this proposal to the New York State Constitution would prevent challenge and change for decades to come thus locking down state residents in a system that is fundamentally discriminatory and in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution by giving upstate white residents more voting power than people of color downstate.
Locate Proposition 1 on the back of the ballot and vote “NO” to Proposition 1 on Tuesday, November 4, 2014.