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Appeals court to hear challenge to Democrat-drawn election maps

New York’s highest court is expected to hear arguments  today on whether Democrats gerrymandered election maps drawn after a bipartisan panel failed to agree on a set of maps.

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Related: New York State Court of Appeals to decide if district maps will be redrawn, primary elections pushed back

According to published reports, the state Court of Appeals will hear a case brought by a group of Republican voters, challenging the maps. The suit claims Democrats in the legislature violated the state constitution when it drew Congressional district maps that favored Democrats in 22 of New York’s 26 districts. The constitution was amended in 2014 to take the responsibility for drawing maps after each federal census from the legislature, giving it instead to an Independent Redistricting Commission. The commission is supposed to send the legislature two sets of maps for its consideration, but the legislature rejected the first set of maps.

Related: Court says Democrats gerrymandered NY’s district boundaries

A Steuben County judge ruled last month that the legislature did not have the right to make the redistricting decision itself. Governor Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders were granted a stay of the order by another court. Last week, yet another court ruled the legislature must draw a new Congressional map by the end of the month.

The Court of Appeals has, in the past, been reluctant to rule in favor of challenges to election maps.

Meanwhile, with primary elections set for June 28, New York Congressional candidates are campaigning in communities that may or may not actually be in their districts when the final decision is made. As part of its deliberations, the Appeals Court is expected to consider whether to move the primaries to August.