New York Census and Redistricting Institute

New York Law School Launches Public Redistricting Mapping Project

New York Census and Redistricting Institute

New York Higher Education Student Teams to Draft and Submit Redistricting Maps to State Government

New York, NY (October 27, 2021) – New York Law School’s (NYLS) New York Census and Redistricting Institute has launched a statewide Public Mapping Redistricting Project to coincide with the 2021 state redistricting cycle. Student teams from New York’s higher education institutions have been invited to participate in drafting maps for New York’s congressional, state senate, and state assembly districts and submit them to the State. They will use free online software and data, along with specialized training, to draw model maps. 

The Project, developed by NYLS Adjunct Professor and Director of the Census and Redistricting Institute Jeffrey M. Wice, kicked shortly after the release of draft maps published by the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission. Similar efforts have been initiated in other states. This Project is a key civic engagement effort for New York college and law students to understand how local democracy functions in practice. This also helps foster greater public participation and transparency and enables carefully drawn maps to be submitted to redistricting authorities. 

The project has engaged student teams from several colleges, universities, and law schools including New York Law School, SUNY Stony Brook, Columbia University, University, SUNY New Paltz, Marist College, Fordham Law School, Albany Law School, SUNY Buffalo Law School, and Syracuse University. Individuals and other institutions are also able to participate as the Mapping Project has open entry. 

“The Public Mapping Project provides participants with a hands-on learning experience working with computer technology and the law. Maps developed by student teams can be submitted to the state for consideration before new maps are finalized by early next year,” said Adjunct Professor and Census and Redistricting Institute Director Jeffrey M. Wice, the Project Director.

“The Public Mapping Project has transformed our legislative redistricting class. We go from reading caselaw to using recent Census data to create legislative districts. We are training the next generation of experts in the vital work needed to preserve the rule of law,” said Adjunct Professor at University at Buffalo School of Law Frank Housh.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for today’s students to gain a deep understanding of the governmental process of redistricting, a little understood but critical part of our democracy,” said Richard Rifkin, Legal Director of the Government Law Center at Albany Law School.