New York court rejects Democrat-drawn congressional maps

ALBANY, NY (AP) — New York’s highest court on Wednesday rejected new congressional maps that had been widely seen as favoring Democrats, broadly agreeing with Republican voters who argued the district boundaries were unconstitutional .

The state Court of Appeals said lawmakers lacked the power to pass the state’s Congressional and Senate maps after an independent redistricting commission failed to reach a decision. a consensus.

The justices also said lawmakers had gerrymanded congressional maps in favor of Democrats, in violation of a 2014 constitutional amendment aimed at eliminating political play in redistricting.

The Court of Appeals said it will “likely be necessary” to move the congressional and state Senate primaries from June to August.

The group of Republican voters had said in their lawsuit not only that the cards were manipulated, but also that the Legislative Assembly did not follow proper procedure in passing them.

A lower court also ruled the maps unconstitutional and gave the Legislative Assembly a deadline of April 30 to propose new maps or leave the task to a court-appointed expert.

READ MORE: New Maryland Congressional Redistricting Map Approved by Governor

The judges in Wednesday’s ruling said a special court master would pass new district maps instead of the legislature.

Judicial review “is necessary to facilitate the prompt creation of constitutionally compliant maps for use in the 2022 election and to safeguard the constitutionally protected right of New Yorkers to a fair election,” the decision reads.

The decision did not specify a deadline for adopting new maps. But the justices said they were sending the case to a lower state court, which “must pass the constitutional maps with all due haste.”

The legal battle over New York’s redistricting process could be a factor in the battle between Democrats and Republicans for control of the US House.

New York is expected to lose a congressional seat in 2021. New York’s new maps would give Democrats a strong majority of registered voters in 22 of the state’s 26 congressional districts. Right now, Republicans currently hold eight of the state’s 27 seats.

Democrats hoped a redistricting map favorable to their party in New York could help offset expected losses in other states where Republicans control state government.

Maps of political districts across the country have been redrawn in recent months following population changes recorded during the 2020 census.

Under a process passed by voters in 2014, the new maps of New York’s districts were supposed to have been drawn by an independent commission. But that body, made up of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, could not agree on a set of cards. The Democratic-controlled legislature then stepped in and created its own maps, quickly signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul.

Republicans then sued, ensuring the cards were tossed out for violating a provision of the state constitution prohibiting reshuffling of districts for partisan purposes. Similar legal battles unfolded in several other states.

The battle moved quickly through the courts, but not fast enough to dispel uncertainty over the primary, now scheduled for June 28.

In the meantime, candidates have had to start campaigning in the new ridings, although they don’t know if those ridings will still exist when voting begins.


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