Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

New York Democrats Are Making Progress on Redistricting

As we discussed last week, New York Democrats are potentially interested in regerrymandering their House map in the hope that the new New York Court of Appeals will buy it. And this is more than a hope. They have already gone to court to start the process.

Here is the story. A constitutional amendment approved by the voters in 2014 created an independent commission to draw the maps but gave the legislature the power to reject the first map. In that case, the commission is required to draw a second map. If the legislature rejects that one, too, then it can draw the map. After the 2020 census, the commission drew a map, the legislature rejected it, but the commission never drew the second map. Meanwhile, the courts intervened and drew their own map.

In a lawsuit, state Democrats are now claiming that the court-drawn map was an emergency measure applicable only to 2022 and now the whole process should start all over. In other words, the commission should draw a map, the legislature will reject it, then the commission should draw a second map, and the legislature will reject it, too. Then it can get to work drawing a new gerrymandered map that might pass muster with the new Court of Appeals.

A mid-level appeals court held oral arguments on this case last Thursday. The five judges on it indicated that the Court of Appeals didn't give them much guidance, so it doesn't know what to do. It also doesn't matter what it decides. The case will instantly be appealed to the new Court of Appeals. Democrats are hoping that it will rule that the 2022 emergency map does not apply to 2024 and the whole process should start all over again.

The map that David Wasserman drew and we showed last week could be a prototype for a new map if the courts allow it. It is not as egregious as the original map, but still gives the Democrats a decent shot at picking up five seats, especially in a blue wave. A key issue, of course, is how fast everyone moves on all the moving parts. If the new map is not in place well before the New York State primary, House candidates won't know where the district lines are. Of course, the state legislature could move the primary to mid-October if it wants to. (V)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates