New York again will lose a representative in the House of Representatives.

It’s not like we weren’t expecting it.

In fact, some political experts thought we’d lose two.

“We’ve lost two or more seats every Census since 1950,” said Dan Lamb, lecturer in Cornell’s Institute for Public Affairs. “This is a break in the trend line that’s positive for New York. We’re not losing as much clout as we have in prior cycles.”

Losing only one representative seemed to be good news for the Empire State, until we heard that the difference between losing one seat and keeping our 27 representatives came down to fewer than 100 people filling out the census last year.

Yes. If 89 more people had responded to the once-a-decade nationwide count, we would have kept our seat in the House.

“There were 435 seats,” said Kristin Koslap, senior technical expert for 2020 Census Apportionment. “The last seat went to Minnesota and New York was next in line. If you do the algebra equation that determines how many they would have needed, it’s 89 people.”

That was 89 people of a total state population of 20.2 million, up 800,000 from 2010, according to the census.

New York tried to do a full count, but it didn’t work.

Using ads, text messages, phone calls and celebrities, state and local officials exhorted residents last year to participate in a count that unfolded amid the coronavirus pandemic and court fights over various aspects of the Trump administration’s conduct of the census. That included an ultimately unsuccessful effort to exclude undocumented immigrants.

The impact of the pandemic and the court challenges will not be known. But what we do know is just a little more than 64% of New York household answered the census by phone, internet or mail in New York. The national self-response rate was 67%.

New York remained the fourth most-populous state, behind California, which for the first time lost a House seat, Texas and Florida, which gained two and one, respectively.

Beyond losing congressional representation, our state is likely to lose out the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal funding each year.

Because we’ve lost a seat, we know our congressional districts will change. Because of a shift in population within the state, our state legislative districts will change as well.

Traditionally, state lawmakers and governors have redrawn voting districts for seats in the U.S. House and state Legislature. But New York voters approved a 2014 ballot proposition that calls for a 10-member commission to draw districts for the U.S. House and the state Legislature. The maps will be submitted to the Legislature for approval.

We don’t want to see a repeat of the 101st Assembly District, which stretches from New Hartford in Oneida County, through Herkimer, Otsego, Delaware, Sullivan and Ulster counties into the Orange County towns of Crawford and Montgomery.

Known by some as “the snake,” this district — no more than three towns wide at any point — was clearly motivated by politics.

We are hopeful that when these districts are redrawn they make sense for those who live in the districts, and not created to be what is best for the politicians who serve in those districts.

— The Daily Star, Oneonta

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