Sorting Out Congressional District Confusion

11:00 PM, Oct 30, 2012   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY- You may have made up your mind about who you'll vote for next Tuesday. Kathy Hochul or Chris Collins. Brian Higgins or Mike Madigan. But do you really know who you CAN vote for?

The 26th district is currently being represented by Democrat Kathy Hochul, but new lines drawn to reflect 2010 census data put Hochul and Higgins in the same district. So now she's running for the 27th district.

Not everyone has caught on to the changes. We found one homeowner is Snyder, for example, who has a Hochul lawn sign, but can't even vote for her. And anti-Collins mailers went to North Tonawanda, but folks there will be voting for Higgins or Madigan.

"There's no question that sometimes the samples that are being drawn by various groups that are doing the mailings are a little confused," said Democratic Erie County Elections Commissioner Dennis Ward.

Hochul is now facing a challenge by Republican Chris Collins in the new 27th congressional district. You'll be voting in that race if you live in a huge area that stretches from Niagara County and Southern Erie County all the way east to Ontario County south of Rochester. You can see the details of the map here.

If you live in the newly drawn 26th district, you're voting for Higgins or Madigan. That district includes Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Grand Island, North Tonawanda, the city of Tonawanda, the town of Tonawanda, Lackawanna, Cheektowaga, West Seneca and most of Amherst. See the 26th congressional district map here.

Amherst is the only municipality that is divided into two districts. It's mostly the 26th, but East Amherst is in the 27th. The borders are New Road to the west, part of Dodge Road, part of Casey Road and Muegel Road, and part of Transit Road to the east. See the Amherst map here

"It is odd to have people right across the street from each other, previously in one district, now in different districts," said Ward.

Transit Road has always been the divider between Amherst and Clarence. Now Transit, south of Muegel, is also the divider between the 26th and the 27th districts. On the Amherst side, you were in the 26th district represented by Kathy Hochul. Now, you're still in the 26th but you'll be voting for Higgins or Madigan. On the Clarence side of Transit, you were represented by Hochul in the 26th district. Now you'll still vote for Hochul or Collins, but you're voting in the 27th district.

Finally the change affecting the most number of people has to do with Congresswoman Louise Slaughter. She will no longer represent anyone in Western New York. Her district is strictly in Monroe County and a portion of Ontario County.

Contact the Erie County Board of Elections at 716-858-8891 with questions.

You can find detailed election maps here.

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