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Local News

November 5, 2012

Area voters to face redistricting

This year’s candidates on the campaign trail had to consider strategies to reach voters in their newly configured districts.

On Tuesday, their efforts will be tested. 

Voters will go to the same general election polling sites, but names on ballots may or may not be familiar, and views were mixed last week on whether voters grasped the impact of redistricting. 

“I’m not at all sure the voters know the impact,’’ said Howard Leib of Dryden, Democratic challenger of incumbent Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, for the 51st District of the state Senate. 

Maria Kelso, chairwoman of the Delaware County Democratic Republican Committee, expressed more confidence about voter knowledge regarding redistricting and what the ballots will look like on Election Day.

“It shouldn’t be a surprise to most people,’’ Kelso said. ``People are more intuitive than we give them credit for.’’ 

Kelso said the candidates have been speaking about the redistricting as they circulated petitions and campaigned in their districts. They and their supporters also spoke at party functions about the changes, she said.

The U.S. Constitution requires that congressional and state legislative district boundaries be redrawn every 10 years to reflect population shifts identified in the federal census. In the process, New York state lost two congressional seats.

The state also has a new map of Senate and Assembly districts. One seat was added to the Senate, from 62 to 63, and the number of Assembly seats remains unchanged at 150, according to the state Board of Elections.

Candidates have sent out many mailings to constituents, who are likely aware of changes from redistricting, said Sheila Ross, Republican commissioner at the Otsego County Board of Elections.

“The voters, if they’ve paid attention to their mail, they’ll be fine,’’ Ross said. 

Redistricting has meant changes in areas and constituent representation. 

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