The court appointed, special master tasked with redrawing New York’s Congressional and state Senate district maps released a draft version of both maps Monday.
City and State report the interactive version of the maps were posted online by Jonathan Cervas, a scholar on apportionment who was tasked with the job.
The House district map seems to spell bad news for New York Democrats, who could have more competitive general elections than ever. Cervas seemed to prioritize that, drawing at least eight of the state’s 26 House districts in a way that either party could be competitive in November. The lines have national implications as well. Democrats have a narrow majority in the House of Representatives currently, and are expecting difficult conditions in this 2022 midterm election.
The initial lines drawn by the Democrat-controlled Legislature and approved in late January would have given Democrats an advantage in 22 of the state’s 26 congressional districts.
The proposed 23rd District is geographically smaller, covering 7 counties compared with the current district lines that cover an 11 county region. The new district would include southern and central Erie County to the north before stretching along the Pennsylvania-border counties to Chemung and Schuyler Counties to the east.
Cervas reconfigured the state’s 63 Senate seats from the State Legislature’s original plan struck down by New York’s highest court for unconstitutional gerrymandering last month to have between 315,450 and 329,505 constitutents each.
The lines were released just before 5 p.m. Monday, about five hours after the draft congressional maps were published.
Cervas wrote, “Because of relative population loss, two districts have been shifted and there are necessary changes throughout the state to reflect population changes.”
The new Senate map reflects 38 districts that lean Democratic, 10 that lean Republican and 15 in the 45 to 55% competitive range, based on 2016 and 2020 election data.
Cervas did not take incumbent addresses into account when redrawing the congressional or Senate districts, basing the lines on standards outlined in the state constitution.
The proposed 57th district still includes all of Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties, and now would include Wyoming and Genesee counties. A tetris-like chunk of Allegany County is also in the proposed 57 district.
The maps are just a draft, with the final Congressional and state Senate maps due this Friday, May 20. The public has through Wednesday to submit testimony regarding the maps to Steuben County Acting Supreme Court Judge Patrick McAllister. McAllister has been overseeing the redistricting process following a successful, Republican-backed legal challenge to the maps passed into law by the state’s Democratic controlled legislature and signed by Governor Kathy Hochul. With that short timeline, observers do not expect major changes to be made to the maps.
Primaries for U.S. House and state Senate races were pushed back to August 23, with the primary for statewide offices and state Assembly races set for June 28.
Meanwhile, there are still some question marks about how the election process will proceed. A new lawsuit filed Sunday in Manhattan Supreme Court seeks to invalidate the Assembly maps and delay the primary election until new lines could be drawn.
Two of the three plaintiffs in the case, Gary Greenberg and New York Young Republican Club President Gavin Wax previously filed legal action in the Steuben County suit to have the maps tossed, but McAllister tossed out their request last week, stating that while he agreed the Assembly maps were also drawn in violation of the constitution, it was too close to the scheduled June primary to redraw the lines.
Queens attorney and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Nichols joined the two in filing the Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit.