ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — The States Independent Redistricting Commission has released the drafted Assembly redistricting lines, but some are saying the states process to draw those maps is doomed to fail. Earlier this year, the Independent Redistricting Commission couldn’t come up with a consensus on Assembly maps, so it was left up to the Legislature. Soon after, the Court struck down the maps because the proper procedure wasn’t followed.
Now, months later the IRC has given it a second go, but Susan Lerner, Executive Director with Common Cause New York says the new draft is too similar to the one that the courts already rejected. “And it has played out exactly, unfortunately, as we predicted, which is a commission which is not independent, which failed spectacularly and embarrassingly… turned into a procedure for the assembly where the assembly remains in control of drawing its own maps,” said Lerner.
You can take a look at the current and drafted map here: https://nyirc.gov/assembly-plan
Michael Li, Redistricting Expert with the Brennan Center for Justice says boundaries across the state are shifting in New York City, Southern Brooklyn, the Lower Hudson Valley, Syracuse and Rochester. “A lot of incumbents are finding that they don’t live in the districts that they currently represent or conversely that the districts have become more competitive or have changed quite a bit. You know there really are a lot of changes across the state especially in the urban areas,” said Li.
The legislature can either accept or reject the drafted map. If they are rejected, the IRC would redraw them again. If they are rejected another time, the Legislature could then draw the maps themselves. “This is going to be a very extended process that runs probably through next summer and this is really just the first step in the process,” said Li.
But Common Cause New York say the state needs an entirely new redistricting process. “At this point we should not be entertaining any activity by the Commission or the Legislature drawing any maps, it should be in the hands of a special master and this process should end once and for all,” said Lerner. The IRC will carry out 12 hearings. The public comment period will run from January to March with the final maps due in April.