New York’s Appellate Court has ordered the state’s Congressional maps be redrawn.
The Bipartisan State Commission will start work immediately. After the 2020 census, the commission did not agree on a new map, leading to a lengthy legal challenge. It ended with a state court judge overseeing the new map’s redrawing process for the 2022 elections.
In this case, Democrats are arguing the special master’s maps were only meant to be used for the 2022 election, not for the next decade.
Jerry Goldfeder, chairman of the Task Force on Voting Rights and Democracy for the New York State Bar Association, noted it is all part of the process.
“Often what happens, not just in New York but throughout the country, is that when new lines are promulgated, there are sometimes people who are unhappy with those new lines,” Goldfeder outlined. “They challenge them and the courts have to deal with it, and that’s a litigation process.”
New York’s move comes as the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled Alabama’s district maps were unconstitutional for some districts with a majority of Black voters. Once the new lines are redrawn, they will be submitted to the Legislature for approval, unless a legal challenge comes forward. The goal is to resolve the process by late February, to prepare for the upcoming primaries and election.
There are concerns the new maps might tip the scale of power in favor of Democrats in the 2024 election. Goldfeder described the legal criteria the maps must meet.
“They can’t be partisan to such a degree that violates the state constitution. They can’t favor incumbents, or insurgents,” Goldfeder explained. “Whatever new lines we get will undoubtedly be more or less neutral.”
He added the political leaning of the districts will come down to the voter’s choice. In recent years, confidence in elections has waned. Experts feel the divide in election confidence comes down to political parties. They pointed out Democrats worry about voting access, while Republicans worry about election integrity.
Edwin is a reporter and producer in North Tonawanda, New York. He’s previously reported for the Niagara Gazette and the Ithaca Times. Edwin got an early start in radio interning for WBFO-88.7FM, NPR’s Buffalo affiliate. In 2018, he graduated from SUNY Buffalo State College with a B.A. in Journalism, and in 2022, graduated from Syracuse University with an M.S. in Communications.