ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Every 10 years, district lines for federal and state elections get redrawn based on the latest census numbers. Political parties routinely used this as a chance to draw maps in a way to maintain party power. This year, the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission was supposed to change all that.
The commission has been working on this for months ever since the 2020 Census numbers were released. After trying to agree on a single map for Congressional, New York State Senate, and Assembly Lines, it doesn’t look they’ll be able to submit one to the State legislature on Tuesday.
“It’s disappointing,” explained Assemblyman Chris Tague. “The voters asked for this. They asked for an independent body to put the redistricting together and it became political as usual.”
On January 10th, the Independent Redistricting Commission presented two maps to the New York State Legislature. Both failed overwhelmingly, voted down by both democrats and republicans. The commission, comprised of five Democrats and five Republicans, was supposed to present one single set of maps Tuesday. “They refer to themselves as the independent redistricting commission, that’s a bit of a misnomer,” explained New York State constitutional expert Christopher Bopst.
Both sides admit they’ve reached a stalemate. In a joint statement, Democratic Commissioners say their Republican colleagues have refused to agree on a compromise. The Republican Commissioners claim Democrats purposely scuttled the process, so the legislature—controlled by Democrat super-majorities—can determine the district lines.
Assemblyman John McDonald, explained to News 10 what will likely happen next. “Both houses have a committee that has been monitoring and involved throughout the whole public process of the independent redistricting commission over this past year,” he said.
The legislature will have to act quickly in the coming weeks seeing as petitions for the upcoming election cycle go out in early March.