Here’s something most of you probably don’t know. What you think may simply be locations of prisons in New York State is also a map of “population infusions” to ever-shrinking upstate, courtesy, largely, of six or seven zip codes in New York City. Several rural upstate counties have large prisons and the inmates are counted as local residents for the purposes of redistricting and by the Census bureau.
There were hearings this week — barely publicized — by the Assembly’s Governmental Operations Committee and their Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment. I know, the names alone beg to be ignored. However, one of the major issues was where state prison inmates should be counted for the purposes of Census reports.
As the Times Union put it,
This ultimately shapes up as a typical upstate Republican-Downstate Democratic fight as any actual shift would likely benefit NYC Democrats at the expense of upstate Republicans.
Thats’s because there is a dwindling population upstate, which means fewer Congressional and legislative districts.
It’s a trend that has been going on for decades and is expected to continue through the 2010 Census.
So let’s get this straight. Rural upstate is loyally Republican, meaning loyal to the party of free trade and “business interests” generally. For its loyalty, business has rewarded upstate by packing its bags and leaving town — abandoning upstate to its fate of three decades of chronic recession.
Not that the Grand Old Business Party is without heart. For a consolation prize, upstate gets to pad its population numbers, which is handy come reapportionment time. Handy, that is, for the GOBP. Especially handy is the fact that the captive populations are disenfranchised.
Meanwhile, families of these county-padding populations travel for hours on backroads bus routes just to see how they’re doing.