The Cayuga County Legislature is taking the first steps to consider redistricting and alternative forms of government districts in advance of the 2020 U.S. Census.
The county leadership team agreed at Tuesday’s meeting of Legislature’s Government Operations Committee to begin exploring options for the formation of an independent commission that would navigate the process of reshaping the legislative districts as required by the Census, as well as switching to different forms of government.
The move comes on the heels of a presentation in late July by an expert on county government in New York that focused largely on alternative governance options like a Board of Supervisors, a Legislature with an elected executive, or using a charter to customize the government structure.
Cayuga County’s Legislature is one of only a handful of counties in New York that operate under a weighted voted system, in which a legislator’s vote is assigned a point value based on their district’s population.
That can often lead to situations where resolutions are passed by a minority of legislators in control of a majority of points, which multiple legislators on both sides of the aisle and point scale have described at times as unfair.
The 10-year federal Census requires redistricting based on population changes, creating the perfect opportunity to address the point system, the number of districts, and other options along with redistricting, according to Legislator Chris Petrus, R-Brutus, who brought up the commission idea Wednesday.