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Broome County Legislature tables redistricting vote after public opposition to proposed map

UPDATE 1/18/22 10:40 AM: The legislature announced the special session will be held virtually only.

UPDATE 1/17/22 2:25 PM: The legislature has announced a special session to discuss and vote on proposed map 3 on 1/18/22 at 5:00 PM. The public may testify at the hearing, which will be held in person and over Zoom.

ITHACA, NY (WSKG) — The Broome County Legislature was largely expected to adopt a new map Thursday night, outlining the county’s 15 political districts.

"Draft Map 3" would allow many Republican incumbents to keep their current seats. It's also the map that's favored by the Republican majority.

But the vote was postponed after a public hearing attended by at least 60 people. Many residents, like Janet Beal, spoke out against Map 3.

"We re-district every 10 years because populations change," Beal said. "So to pick a map because it maintains the status quo just flies in the in the face of what the whole process of redistricting is supposed to be."

The latest census results show an increase in population in more urban, liberal leaning areas like the tri-cities. Many rural areas saw a population decrease.

The proposed map would also further divide the small town of Maine into three different districts. Maine’s Town Supervisor, Jim Tokos, also appeared at the public hearing.

"To me it makes no sense of why Maine needs to be split into three districts," Tokos said. "It is not in the best interest of the town of Maine at all."

New York’s recent redistricting law recommends smaller towns and villages like Maine not be divided into separate districts, if it can be avoided.

The Legislature will take up the discussion again on January 20. It's not yet clear if there will be a public comment session. You can view Draft Map 3 and all other proposed maps here