Already one year late, council moves redistricting to 2023

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Partial election district map of Poughkeepsie.

POUGHKEEPSIE – The Poughkeepsie Common Council was required by law to have a redistricting commission in place by March 1, 2021, and failed to do so.  One year later, in March of 2022, then-Chairperson Sarah Salem sought applications from city residents to serve on the committee.

By failing to name the commission, the council further violated the law requiring the commission to submit a proposed plan of redistricting to the council for consideration by November 1, 2021, for adoption by local law.

On October 17, 2022, Redistricting Commission Chairman Tom Lawrence submitted two maps drawn up based on the 2020 Census data, for the common council to consider.  The data used was based on the city’s population as of April 1, 2020, of 31,577 residents.

After the presentation, Common Council Majority Leader Evan Menist pointed out that state law requires that prisoners of state prisons that have a last known address of Poughkeepsie be added to the city’s population for redistricting.  The commission did not have that data.  Menist said the state inmates would bring the population of Poughkeepsie to 31,892.

Menist noted that the new wards should have an average population of 3,947 residents in each of the eight wards.  Based on the maps, the Fourth Ward would have 4,101 residents and 3,821 in the Second Ward, which is outside the deviation percentages required by the state.

The common council voted to take no actions on the maps in October.  Instead, the members of the council will submit specific objections to the commission by November 7, 2022, and the commission will have until February 1, 2023, to submit new maps to the council for consideration.