UPDATE: The state Court of Appeals has ruled the election maps drawn by Democratic lawmakers are unconstitutional. More details when they become available.
The state’s highest court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a case that could throw the June primary elections into turmoil.
The case before the Court of Appeals will determine the fate of election maps drawn by Democrats in the State Legislature after a bipartisan commission was unable to come up with maps that both parties could agree on. Earlier this month, a Steuben County judge ruled the Democrat-drawn maps were unconstitutional under a 2014 amendment expressly forbidding partisan gerrymandering and establishing a commission to draw new maps every ten years after the federal census.
In their questioning, several justices seemed reluctant to get the judicial system involved in what is, essentially, a political dispute.
Earlier this year, the ten-member commission was unable to agree on one set of maps and so sent two maps, one drawn by Democratic members of the commission and one by Republicans, to the legislature. The map chosen by Democratic lawmakers gives Democrats the advantage in 22 of 26 Congressional districts.
The state Legislature has until April 30 to draw new maps. If it is unable to do so, the task will fall on a court-appointed expert. In the meantime, Congressional candidates are campaigning in districts whose boundaries may change, in a primary election that may or may not be held on June 28.
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