State court rejects congressional maps drawn by Democrats; primaries may be pushed to August

New York’s highest court on Wednesday rejected the state’s new congressional district maps that the Democratic-led Legislature had drawn.

News 12 Staff

Apr 27, 2022, 9:24 PM

Updated 718 days ago

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New York’s highest court on Wednesday rejected the state’s new congressional district maps that the Democratic-led Legislature had drawn.
The Court of Appeals agreed in a ruling with a group of Republican voters who sued, saying that the district boundaries had been unconstitutionally gerrymandered and that the Legislature hadn’t followed proper procedure in passing the maps.
The court said it will “likely be necessary” to move the congressional and state Senate primary elections from June to August.
The 1st Congressional District is a long-time swing district in Suffolk that is currently held by Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin, who is running for governor. The 3rd Congressional District reaches the North Shore from the Nissequogue River to the Whitestone Bridge, and is held by Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi, who's also running for governor.
Under the proposed remapping plan, the 1st District would have reached farther west through heavily Democratic communities and stretched into Nassau County. The 3rd District would have crossed the Throgs Neck Bridge into the Bronx and coastal Westchester communities, which are places that also tend to vote Democrat.
Political district maps across the nation have been redrawn in recent months as a result of population shifts recorded in the 2020 census.
Under a process passed by voters in 2014, New York’s new district maps were supposed to have been drawn by an independent commission. But that body, made up of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans, couldn't agree on one set of maps. The Democratic-controlled Legislature then stepped in and created its own maps, quickly signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The argument from Republicans was that these proposed districts were heavily gerrymandered to favor Democrats, which the Court of Appeals appeared to agree with in its ruling. All seven judges on the court were appointed by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo or Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Rep.  Zeldin released a statement Wednesday that said, "New York's Court of Appeals just tossed the hyper-partisan, gerrymandered Congressional and state Senate maps for the state. This is excellent news for the people of New York and yet another big-time defeat for Kathy Hochul and her Democrat allies."
The Director of Public Information for the State Board of Elections issued the following statement today regarding the Court of Appeals’ decision in the Harkenrider v. Hochul case.
“The attorneys for the State Board of Elections are reviewing today’s decision by the Court of Appeals in the Harkenrider v. Hochul case. The State Board staff stands ready to assist the Supreme Court in any way we are called upon to quickly develop a new Political Calendar for an August primary for the state Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. We do not foresee the June 28th primary changing for our statewide offices, the State Assembly, Judicial Delegates and Alternates and any local offices that are scheduled to be on the primary ballot. Whatever adjustments need to be made to the ballot access process for candidates for Congress and State Senate for a new primary will be proposed to the court. We will do everything in our power to inform the electorate to ensure a fair and accurate election for the voters of New York.”
The district will now be redrawn by a neutral party known as a "special master." 
AP Wire Services were used in the report.


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