Voters will find reapportionment proposition on 2021 ballots
Poughkeepsie, NY … Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro announced today the County is seeking engaged residents to serve on the Dutchess County Independent Reapportionment Commission, which will draw legislative districts, as required by the Dutchess County Charter, following the results of the 2020 federal census. Residents interested in applying for the Commission are encouraged to apply online at dutchessny.gov/DrawTheLines.
Reapportionment is the process of allocating seats in the County Legislature based on on population; redistricting is the process of redrawing legislative district lines. Voters will find a proposition on the back of their 2021 ballot, which updates the rules and procedures of the Independent Reapportionment Commission and reduces the size of the County Legislature from 25 to 21 members.
Though the County received an overwhelming response from residents applying for the Commission in 2020, an ineligible selection disqualified the previous Commission, requiring its disbandment by law. All those who applied previously remain on the list unless they request to be removed, but may again apply for the Commission to confirm their availability.
County Executive Molinaro said, “Drawing fair, impartial district lines ensures the fair representative democracy on which this nation was founded. As such, Dutchess County is in search of civic-minded residents to undertake this most important task – one which will affect representation at every level of government. I encourage those looking to be a bigger part of their community and democracy to apply for the Dutchess County Reapportionment Commission.”
In 2019, the Dutchess County Legislature adopted a local law that determined the redrawing of legislative districts would be done by and Independent Reapportionment Commision, detached from Legislative authority or influence to ensure equal and fair representation to the people of Dutchess County. This law took effect after being approved by Dutchess County voters in 2020. The County Legislature passed a similar local law earlier this year.
Pursuant to the reapportionment process, the County Executive is responsible for establishing a pool of applicants who are registered to vote in Dutchess County and represent the geographic and demographic diversity of the County. In addition, candidates must not currently be – nor have been for at least three years prior – an elected official, employee of New York State, Dutchess County, or any town, city or village in the County, or member of any political committee.
The pool of applicants must be submitted to the County Legislature by January 2, 2022 for initial members of the Commission to be selected by the Legislature’s majority and minority leaders. A total of seven residents will serve on the Commission.
The full 2021 local law, including the power and duties of the Commission members, is available online at the County’s website.
To apply, please visit DutchessNY.gov/DrawTheLines. In addition, individuals can mail a written letter of application expressing interest in the Reapportionment Commission, including address, and affirming eligibility to serve, to Dutchess County Executive’s Office; 22 Market Street; Poughkeepsie, NY 12601.