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Thu., Sep. 3
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Changes In Prisoner Counting Have Small Impact On Redistricting


It was still unclear by Friday how much the population numbers would change for upstate legislators after Democrats and Republicans struck a deal on where to count prisoners for redistricting.
But it probably won't be much.
The Democratic-controlled Assembly and Republican-controlled Senate agreed on a deal to count 46,000 of the state's 58,000 prisoners at their last known address, rather than the prison in which they reside, the Associated Press reported Thursday. (That is, for now. Republicans are still planning to forge ahead with an appeal of a lawsuit that sought to overturn a 2010 law that changed residency rules.) Twelve thousand will not be counted at all, an increase from the 3,000 that were originally to be discarded when the Assembly first crunched the numbers.
What would that mean for each upstate legislator? The two sides don't know. A district-by-district analysis was not yet complete by Friday, said Mark Hansen, a Senate GOP spokesman.
"The announcement yesterday was just that a total number had been achieved after going through a long process," Mr. Hansen said in an email. "They have not actually been entered into the database yet."
But the extra prisoners who were expunged from the rolls probably won't change the figures much, or at all, for north country legislators. The residents they lost to downstate were already gone, whether they were counted in New York City or not counted at all. It is, however, likely to mitigate some of the gains that Democratic-friendly areas received from the previous count.
The Assembly previously said that north country legislators would lose the following number of residents because of the change to the law:
* Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa: 1,872.
* Assemblyman Kenneth D. Blankenbush, R-Black River: 1,481.
* Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome: 1,842.
* Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton: 3,231.

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