County headed to court over legislative reapportionment

by Carol Thompson

Approximately ten Oswego County residents are taking the County of Oswego to court over the manner in which new legislative district lines were drawn.

Buffalo-based attorney Frank Housh said Wednesday that the lawsuit is expected to be filed within the next few weeks. He noted that he is waiting for the final district lines to be drawn by the county Board of Elections so that the paperwork can be filed.

“There is no question in my mind that the redistricting itself failed to meet the legal requirements,” Housh said.

Among the allegations are that the county failed to take into consideration the formula accounting for prisoners and that there are towns that were split that should not have been.

“Those are the first two issues that we believe are illegal,” he said.

The third cause of action is related to the manner in which the Republican majority proceeded with re-drawing the district lines. Housh alleged that the county legislature used a “blatantly political modus process to marginalize the Democrats. The way they did it was to deny or ignore all public comment.”

The reapportionment has been a controversial issue since the maps were passed late last year. Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley established a committee to complete the reapportionment maps. Legislator Dan Farfaglia, a member of the committee, frequently complained that his input was not taken.

The lawsuit will allege that Beardsley and the Republican majority gerrymandered the districts to the disadvantage of the Democrat legislators.

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