Statement to the Board of Supervisors Supporting One Person-One Vote

Statement to the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors
The League of Women Voters of Saratoga County asks the Board of Supervisors to appoint a special committee to examine options to deal with applying the “one person-one vote” principle to the results of the 2020 census.
It is almost forty years since this County critically examined whether our current governance structure continues to meet our needs. We believe that the time has come for the County to re-visit the issue.
Since the middle of the last century counties have had to address the issue of “one person - one vote”. At that time, the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors adopted weighted voting and added a second Supervisor for the two most populous municipalities.
Realizing the issue would require additional study, in 1987 the Board of Supervisors created a 16 member 21st Century Commission. The Commission was asked to “jointly identify and address the issues of today before they become the problems of tomorrow”. They issued a 113 page report that dealt with many issues and made many recommendations, among them recommendations about the structure of the County Government, the most important of which was a recommendation to ESTABLISH A SCHEDULE OF REGULAR REVIEW OF THE STRUCTURE AND RESPONSIVNESS OF OUR COUNTY GOVERNMENT. To our knowledge, this hasn’t been done.
They also said, “Although we believe the accomplishments of Saratoga County government compare most favorably with other counties, it is prudent to carefully consider:--as Saratoga’s population and budgets continue to grow, “ will the present form of government be able to meet the needs of its County residents?” (p.87)
Although the Board has adopted a weighted vote for decisions made by the Board of Supervisors acting as the whole, we all recognize that Board decisions are actually made in the board’s committees, and that the membership of the committees is not in proportion to the population of the County’s towns and cities. Currently all Supervisors sit on 4 committees of the board. If their representation on committees were in proportion to the number of people they represent, the representative of the Town of Day would sit on one committee and the representative from the town of Halfmoon would have to sit on 23 committees.
We anticipate that the next Census will show continued high population growth in the towns and cities of the Northway corridor, while the population of the other towns grows at a very much slower pace – increasing the inequity of representation in the committees if the current allocation of Supervisors is carried forward. There are many possible remedies, some of which are listed in an attached list.
We think that now is the time for the Board to think about the best way to represent the people of this county. It is time to move closer to the ideal of “one person one vote” by appointing a committee to recommend the most appropriate response to the 2020 census results.