Wonky Wednesday: Syracuse’s 1st Common Council District

Welcome back to #WonkyWednesday.  Each week I take a deep dive into the electoral and registration data that make up Onondaga County and New York State.  Over the next few weeks I will be investigating the City of Syracuse.  Usually I dedicate #wonkywednesday articles to races happening in the current year, however there are no races in Syracuse this year.  I am continuing my run of Syracuse articles to highlight the Syracuse Independent Redistricting Commission will be holding 4 more public meetings over the next 6 weeks to develop their draft redistricting plan.  This citizen led redistricting process depends on you to give input before they redistrict the five common council districts that make up our city.  At the end of this article, I will post the next meeting times so you can attend.  This week I am focusing on the most populous Common Council District, Common Council #1.

In the 2020 Census the 1st Common Council district was reported to have 33,148 residents in the 2020 Census.  This is well over the average and a result of large Demographic changes on the North Side as well as the failure to redistrict at all in 2010. The racial makeup of the Common Council 1 according to the census is 45% white, 28% Black, 9% Hispanic, 13% Asian and 5% other.  This district, because of an influx of new American refugees and a growing Asian community stands out in its racial makeup.  It is the only common council district where ethe Asian community outnumbers Hispanic bringing it to #3 in the racial breakdown.  Voter registration wise it is 48% Democratic, 17% GOP, 28% Blank or non-enrolled.  This also stands out as different than other common Council districts as it is the only district where Democrats have failed to get over 50% in the enrollment.

Though Democrats have not been able to break the 50% mark in this district, their advantage over the GOP is on the rise in this district.  Democrats have stayed flat in registration for the most part since 20009, rising and falling with the Presidential years with just 50 more voters than they had in 2009.  The GOP though has lost 1061 voters since that time.  The non-enrolled continues their trend inside the City of Syracuse being the fastest growing group gaining 431 voters since 2009.  All registrations are currently on the decline which is normal in a post presidential year, we should add voters as the midterms and approach to the next Presidential year in 2024 are underway.

The first Common Council district stretches over 6 different wards inside the city.  It has parts of the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 9th ward.  The only ward totally enclosed in the district is Ward 6.  As we can see by the registration breakdown the 4th ward portion has a plurality of the vote followed by the 6th and then the 3rd.  No wards have a demonstrably different enrollment advantage though the highest concentration of GOP voters is in the 4th ward portion which is the Sedgewick Farms neighborhood.

For our #wonkywednesday articles this year we will be using 5 races to compare how the subjects of our articles perform.  We will be using the Presidential, State Senate, and Congressional races to see how our subject performs in a high turnout federal year.  We will also use last year’s Supreme Court Race for a base on how the voters in the district react in a low turnout year.  For the City of Syracuse, I am including last year’s mayoral race as well.  The 1st Common Council district is still a reliably Democratic performing district in both high and low turnout years.  All the results in this district in the comparative races the GOP does better in this district than any of the other five.  In 2021 Jennifer Schulz won the 1st district seat switching it to Democratic hands for the first time in 6 years.  This district seat is considered the only swing seat in the common council

The City of Syracuse Independent redistricting Commission will meet 4 more times over the next six weeks to hear from the public on what they want from their new districts.  They will be holding hearings at each of the city high schools.  The first redistricting was held on Friday March 18th at ITC High School, and you can watch the live stream from Fairmaps CNY here.  The next four meetings will be March 26 PSLA at Fowler High School 7pm, April 7 at Henniger High School at 7pm, April 24th at Corcoran High School at 4pm, and April 28th at Nottingham High School at 7pm.  You can give testimony about what you would like to see in your city for the next ten years.  Over the next few weeks we will delve into each of the 5 current districts.

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