Lawmakers also passed a controversial measure requiring that prisoners be counted as residents not of the mostly upstate prisons where they reside, but of the areas where they lived before they were incarcerated. This effort had been fiercely resisted by Republicans, because of the implications the move could have as legislative districts are redrawn by the Legislature.But what about our poor urban community? The result would be a population loss of an estimated 600.
Democrats had championed the measure. “This is an issue of fundamental fairness, and it will empower poor communities because their population will reflect those prisoners,” said Senator Eric T. Schneiderman, a Manhattan Democrat running for attorney general. “If other states follow us, it would represent a major shift of political power back to these poor urban communities.”
And the implications for our legislative districts? Since the Hudson Correctional Facility is located in the Third Ward, it would reduce the weighted votes of the Third Ward aldermen. The votes of Aldermen Ellen Thurston and Chris Wagoner now each represent 266 toward the 1,011 needed for a simple majority. The only votes on the Common Council more powerful than theirs are those cast by Fifth Ward aldermen Robert Donahue and Richard Goetz, whose votes weigh in at 278 each.