After the Independent Redistricting Commission failed to reach an agreement on new election maps for Congress, the State Assembly, and the State Senate, State Legislature released the newly redistricted maps on January 30th and 31st. The newly drawn Congressional maps give the Democrats three more seats, for a total of 22, and cutting the Republican seats in half from eight to four. The new Senate maps shift two seats from upstate to New York City, potentially giving Hispanic and Asian voters more power.
Unsurprisingly, the new maps were met with outcry from Republicans, who claimed the Democrats gerrymandered the maps in their favor. “New Yorkers should be mad. They should be furious,” said Republican State Senator Alexis Weik, who flipped a Democratic-held seat in the last election. “These maps are the most brazen and outrageous attempt at rigging the election to keep Nancy Pelosi as Speaker,” Republican Party Chair Nick Langworthy said. Langworthy also claimed that the Democrats “can’t win on the merits, so they’re trying to win the election in smoke-filled room rather than the ballot box.”
Democrats responded saying they followed all of the rules, and did the best they could with a process that is extremely flawed. “We’ve had lawyers look at these lines every which way and we believe very confidently we comply with all the legal requirements,” Deputy Senate Majority Leader Michael Gianaris said. “This map is a fix, and when you fix things that are broken, they are going to change.”
The Congressional map passed the Assembly by a vote of 103 to 45 and the Senate by a vote of 43 to 20, while the Legislative maps passed the Assembly by a vote of 118 to 39 and the Senate by a vote of 43 to 20. After passing the Legislature, the bills were delivered to Governor Kathy Hochul who signed them into law Thursday, February 3rd.
However, the fight between Republicans and Democrats is not over, as Republicans filed a legal challenge to reject the new maps in the State Supreme Court in Steuben County. “The maps just signed into law are unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders that attempt to rig New York elections for the next decade in defiance of the will of the voters with blatant disregard for New York’s Constitution,” attorneys Misha Tseytlin and former State Senator George Winner said. “These new maps must be struck down.” Democrats expect the Supreme Court to uphold the maps.