The State Appellate Court in Rochester has issued a split decision on state redistricting, ruling Congressional districts are gerrymandered.
The Gothamist reports the court made the ruling April 21st that upheld a lower court’s ruling that threw out the Democrat-drawn congressional districts, finding they violated the state constitution’s ban on drawing district lines to benefit a particular party. But the appeals court reinstated New York’s newly drawn state Senate and Assembly district lines, which the trial court judge had also tossed on procedural grounds.
In a 3-2 decision, the Appellate Division ruled the Legislature’s Democratic majorities violated a clause in the state constitution – added in 2014 – that prohibits districts that are “drawn to discourage competition or for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring incumbents or other particular candidates or political parties.”
The ruling gives the state Legislature until April 30 to draw a new set of congressional lines for the June 28 primary, which could be moved back to account for the delay.
But the decision is not final: Democrats have vowed to immediately appeal, and the Court of Appeals, the state’s top court, will have final say. The seven-member court has already signaled it will hear the case on an expedited schedule, perhaps as soon as this week. All seven members were appointed by Democratic Governors Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul.
For the June 28 primary, ballots must be printed by early May in order to comply with federal law requiring absentee ballots to arrive on time for military personnel overseas.