Friday, August 13, 2010

Democracy Marches Forward!

Convicted felons, whom Democrats -- recognizing a natural constituency if ever they saw one -- earnestly seek to enfranchise, no longer will be counted in the upstate population for the purpose of legislative redistricting.

Now, in the spirit of the same democratic impulse, we're going to revise the law so college students vote in their home towns, rather than in college towns, right?



Matt said...

You can find open source data on prison populations in NY from the department of corrections and I thought perhaps the numbers may add some light to the discussion.

There are 59 prisons located in Upstate NY and 9 in the NYC, Long Island and Westchester/Rockland County areas.

Total prison population on 1/1/10 was 58,377 (out of a total state population of ~19 million residents). 49.2% were from NYC and 11.6% were from suburban NYC Counties including Long Island.

For purposes of redistricting, just shy of 60.8% of the prison population will be allocated to the population numbers for downstate. 39.2% of the prison population will be allocated to upstate communities' population.

In New York State, felons lose their right to vote while incarcerated and if released early on parole. It is restored upon completion of parole. We are middle of the road when it comes to this - some states allow unrestricted voting by felons and on the other side of the spectrum, some permanently revoke it for certain crimes.

The previous system provided an advantage to less dense upstate and generally Republican districts where state prisons were located. The median sentence for state prison inmates is 62 months, just over five years.

Time actually served is less that this due to eligibility for parole. Inmates presumably return to their home communities upon release from prison.

Sybil said...

Have you checked what their most prominent political affiliation is?