New York City Council Header
File #: Res 2261-2009    Version: * Name: Census Bureau to enforce a decennial census enumeration policy in which incarcerated juveniles and adults are counted in keeping with the “one person, one vote” principle inherent in the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Committee: Committee on Civil Rights
On agenda: 11/16/2009
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution calling upon the United States Census Bureau to enforce a decennial census enumeration policy in which incarcerated juveniles and adults are counted in keeping with the “one person, one vote” principle inherent in the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, to insure that resources for the general welfare of all citizens are equitably and appropriately distributed.
Sponsors: Larry B. Seabrook, Charles Barron, Leroy G. Comrie, Jr., Lewis A. Fidler, Helen D. Foster, Robert Jackson, Letitia James, G. Oliver Koppell, Darlene Mealy, Albert Vann, Annabel Palma, Maria Del Carmen Arroyo, John C. Liu, Ydanis A. Rodriguez
Council Member Sponsors: 14
Attachments: 1. Committee Report 11/19/09, 2. Hearing Transcript 11/19/09, 3. Hearing Testimony 11/19/09, 4. Committee Report 12/21/09, 5. Hearing Transcript 12/21/09, 6. Hearing Transcript - Stated Meeting 12/21/09
Date Ver.Prime SponsorAction ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsMultimedia
12/21/2009*Larry B. Seabrook City Council Approved, by CouncilPass Action details Meeting details Not available
12/21/2009*Larry B. Seabrook Committee on Civil Rights Hearing Held by Committee  Action details Meeting details Not available
12/21/2009*Larry B. Seabrook Committee on Civil Rights Approved by CommitteePass Action details Meeting details Not available
11/19/2009*Larry B. Seabrook Committee on Immigration Laid Over by Committee  Action details Meeting details Not available
11/19/2009*Larry B. Seabrook Committee on Immigration Hearing Held by Committee  Action details Meeting details Not available
11/19/2009*Larry B. Seabrook Committee on Civil Rights Laid Over by Committee  Action details Meeting details Not available
11/19/2009*Larry B. Seabrook Committee on Civil Rights Hearing Held by Committee  Action details Meeting details Not available
11/16/2009*Larry B. Seabrook City Council Referred to Comm by Council  Action details Meeting details Not available
11/16/2009*Larry B. Seabrook City Council Introduced by Council  Action details Meeting details Not available
Res. No. 2261
 
Resolution calling upon the United States Census Bureau to enforce a decennial census enumeration policy in which incarcerated juveniles and adults are counted in keeping with the “one person, one vote” principle inherent in the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, to insure that resources for the general welfare of all citizens are equitably and appropriately distributed.
 
By Council Members Seabrook, Barron, Comrie, Fidler, Foster, Jackson, James, Koppell, Mealy, Vann, Palma, Arroyo, Liu and Rodriguez
      Whereas, On January 10, 1867, the State of New York ratified the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which repealed the three-fifths compromise, a relic of the pre-abolition period  that counted only sixty percent of the enslaved population for the purposes of apportionment in the House of Representatives; and
Whereas, The Fourteenth Amendment also broadened the definition of citizenship to include former slaves and their descendents, and guaranteed all citizens the rights to due process and equal protection by the government; and
      Whereas, In the 1960s, the Supreme Court determined that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment supported the rule of “one person, one vote,” which sought to avoid lopsided representation in government by requiring that in each state the legislative districts contain similarly-sized populations; and
      Whereas, The United States Census currently counts incarcerated individuals as residents of the census tract in which they are imprisoned; and
      Whereas, Over two million people are currently serving time in correctional facilities throughout the United States; and
Whereas, Most correctional facilities in the United States are not located in or close to the prisoners' pre-incarceration census tracts; and
Whereas, Despite being home to just one-fifth of the country's population, non-metropolitan areas account for three-fifths of new prison construction; and
Whereas, Only two states permit incarcerated individuals to vote in elections, and both states require that the person vote via absentee ballot from their pre-incarceration address; and
Whereas, Including non-voting prison populations in a correctional facility's census tract artificially strengthens the voting power of that tract's non-prisoner population at the expense of the residents of the prisoners' pre-incarceration census tract; and
Whereas, Inaccurate census data further disadvantages certain communities by reducing their share of government resources that are distributed on the basis of population size; and
Whereas, Excluding prisoners from their pre-incarceration census tract disproportionately harms Black and Latino communities, who experience higher rates of incarceration than other racial groups; and
Whereas, Including prisoners in a correctional facility's census tract also compromises the accuracy of the data since nearly 800,000 people in local jails are either awaiting trials or serving short sentences; and
Whereas, The New York State Constitution explicitly states that no person shall be deemed to have gained or lost a residence, by reason of his or her presence or absence while confined in any public prison; and
Whereas, The inclusion of incarcerated individuals in a correctional facility's census tract results in disproportionality, malapportionment and urban underrepresentation in the United States House of Representatives and the New York State Legislature; and
Whereas, This practice is a nullification of the principles of “one person, one vote,” of the equal protection clause and of the inherent voter protections found in the Fourteenth Amendment, Fifteenth Amendment, Nineteenth Amendment, Twenty-Fourth Amendment and all subsequent voter rights resolutions adopted by the United States Congress; and
Whereas, Congressman Edolphus Towns, in his capacity as the Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Congressman William Clay, in his capacity as the Chair of the Sub-Committee on the Census, have the ability to initiate procedures within the Congress that would lead to a house resolution enforcing a fair decennial Census enumeration policy; and
Whereas, For the sake of our city's most disenfranchised communities, it is imperative that incarcerated juveniles and adults be counted in the census tract of their pre-incarceration residence; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls upon the United States Census Bureau to enforce a decennial census enumeration policy in which incarcerated juveniles and adults are counted in keeping with the “one person, one vote” principle inherent in the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, to insure that resources for the general welfare of all citizens are equitably and appropriately distributed.
DMB
LS# 7658
11/5/09