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St. Lawrence County redistricting plan not likely to come before voters

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CANTON — A redistricting plan for St. Lawrence County is not likely to appear on the ballot next year as a majority of legislators recently rejected the idea.

Joseph R. Lightfoot, R-Ogdensburg, asked his peers to put the issue on the ballot next year, which would avoid the cost of a special election, but legislators voted 9-6 at a committee meeting to forgo a public vote.

“I think the decision-making belongs here,” said Frederick S. Morrill, D-DeKalb Junction.

The plan approved by county legislators splits Canton into three districts rather than two, and some residents of Hammond and Morristown said they would have preferred being in the same district. However, the plan was less disruptive than others, particularly in areas where the census showed population remained relatively the same, and it had a low population deviance among districts.

“It’s a good way to divide up the county to ensure one man, one vote,” said Alex A. MacKinnon, R-Fowler.

Mr. MacKinnon said he was fine with putting the issue up to a public vote but thought most people were satisfied with the plan.

A hearing in September attracted two people, but some legislators thought that should be enough to compel a public vote. Morristown Mayor Cheryl A. Shatraw, who was among those speaking in favor of a referendum, represents more than herself, said Daniel F. Parker, R-Potsdam.

“People have expressed the opinion they’d like to vote on this,” he said. “I don’t see any down time in allowing this to go to public referendum.”

However, other legislators said they found the plan reasonable. They are expected to make a final vote at their full board meeting Nov. 5.

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