New York’s court-appointed special master yesterday released proposed redistricting maps for congressional and state senate districts.
The congressional district map altered the boundary lines for the First Congressional District significantly from on the redistricting map struck down by the N.Y. Court of Appeals late last month.
The district will no longer snake into Nassau County, as it did on the map rejected by the court as drawn with “an unconstitutional partisan intent.”
The special master’s proposal for the eastern Suffolk congressional district looks more like the existing district, with relatively minor changes to its western boundaries. It is no longer Democrat-leaning, as it would have been with the map struck down by the court. Instead it returns to a district with a slight Republican edge.
The special master’s proposal for New York’s First Senate District extends the district to the west along the north shore, taking in Stony Brook, including the university campus, and moves most of eastern Brookhaven Town, including Calverton and portions of Manorville, into the Third Senate District.
The special master’s proposed maps are not final until approved by the trial court in upstate Steuben County, where the lawsuit challenging the state-approved maps was brought. The judge overseeing the case has set a May 20 deadline for finalizing the lines.
Democrat Jackie Gordon, who lives in Copiague, in the Second Congressional District, would remain a resident of NY-02 if the special master’s proposed map becomes final. Gordon said in a tweet yesterday she will run for Congress in the district where she lives.
“As I have said throughout this campaign, I am running to represent my home community and will run in the district I live in,” Gordon said. Gordon was the Democratic candidate in NY-02 in 2020 and lost to Republican Andrew Garbarino.
House candidates are not required to live in the congressional district where they seek election. They are required to be a resident of the state where the district is located.
The Republican-Conservative designee in NY-01, Nick LaLota, lives in Amityville, in the Second Congressional District. His home remained in NY-02 in the state-approved map invalidated by the court, though that map brought the NY-01 boundary closer to LaLota’s home. He told RiverheadLOCAL in a February interview he would move into NY-01 if elected. LaLota, a former Suffolk County elections commissioner and former Village of Amityville trustee, currently serves as chief of staff to the presiding officer of the Suffolk County Legislature.
Candidates who already qualified for the ballot in the party primary originally scheduled for June 28 remain qualified for the ballot in the Aug. 28 primary.
However, new candidates can still get on the ballot in the Aug. 28 party primary, under a court order signed last week. Candidates can begin circulating nominated petitions one day after the district lines are finalized and published — on May 21, according to the court order.
New maps are drawn every 10 years as districts are reapportioned, a political process that takes place after the decennial census to redraw election districts based on population changes. Battles over reapportionment can often result in gerrymandering, where the party in power uses the opportunity to redraw boundaries to tighten their control on state and federal elections.
The state’s highest court on April 27 ruled 4-3 against the maps adopted by the state, and in favor of petitioners challenging their constitutionality.
In a 32-page opinion, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore ruled the new State Senate and congressional maps violated the procedure outlined in the 2014 state constitutional amendment on redistricting, which requires that maps be drawn by a bipartisan Independent Redistricting Commission.
“A stalemate within the IRC resulted in a breakdown in the mandatory process for submission of electoral maps to the legislature,” DiFiore wrote. “The legislature responded by creating and enacting maps in a nontransparent manner controlled exclusively by the dominant political party — doing exactly what they would have done had the 2014 constitutional reforms never been passed.”
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