ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Some local lawmakers are hoping a new redistricting map will be approved. The change would create five Black-majority districts in the Monroe County Legislature.

But not everyone is excited about this, including the majority of Democrats in the legislature. Those Democrats feel it might lead to less diversity in the ranks.

Lisa Nicolay, the Republican Board of Elections Commissioner, says every 10 years there’s a census, and after that districts are checked out. “If there are changes in population and people move, we have re-districting so that every county legislator represents approximately the same number of people,” she said.

The population of the county is divided into 29 sections of people. There is a push to make five sections majority Black districts, which could then — possibly— elect five Black lawmakers to the legislature.

It’s a discussion two years in the making. 

“We actually have a bipartisan map that is truly bipartisan. There were actually Democrats that were in the room and helped develop the map,” Nicolay said.

Nicolay and other Republicans support the addition of adding five majority Black districts. All Democrats in the caucus, minus Legislator Rachel Barnhart, are opposed to the move. 

“For some reason, the Democrats have chosen not to continue to support the map,” she said.

The Democratic Caucus said Wednesday in a statement — they are committed to ensuring all minorities have a fair voice. They say this re-districting will pack Black and Hispanic residents into fewer districts and create a solid white majority district in the city. The map from 2011 actually had 6 majority-minority districts. 

Nicolay says at the end of the day, based on population changes, this is fair and thought-out. She hopes Monroe County Executive Adam Bello will sign off on this. 

“We have to implement the map. So the longer it takes, the more drawn-out it is, if we go to court, those are all things that are going to negatively impact the electoral system,” she said.

The proposition will be sent to the legislature Tuesday for voting. Nicolay is presuming it will be approved, then it will go to County Executive Adam Bello’s desk. 

Full Statement from Democratic Caucus

The majority of the members of the Democratic Caucus of the Monroe County Legislature express the following:

1) We Democrats are committed to ensuring all minority communities have a fair voice and
strong advocacy in the legislature;

2) We Democrats are committed to ensuring neighborhoods and communities are protected;

3) We Democrats are committed to ending years of Republican gerrymandering; and

4) We Democrats are committed to following the law.

The current map, enacted in 2011 has six (6) majority-minority districts. The plan currently being proposed packs Black and Hispanic (Latino/a/x) residents into fewer districts and creates a new solid white majority district in the City of Rochester. That is unacceptable.