DemDaily: New York Court Mandates New Map

December 13, 2023

The New York State Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered that the state's congressional map be redrawn, delivering Democrats a significant win in their quest for control of the US House of Representatives in 2024.

Under the state's constitution a bipartisan redistricting commission draws the district lines. After the panel deadlocked in 2022, however, the Democratic-dominated State Legislature adopted its own map -- which the courts ruled was in violation of the state's gerrymandering laws and ordered a special master to take over the process.

The new map resulted in highly competitive districts that helped Republicans flip four seats -- ultimately claiming 11 of the state’s 26 congressional districts -- and tipping the balance of power in the US House to the GOP last year.

Redistricting is the process of redrawing the new electoral boundaries of all 435 US House seats and 7,383 state legislative seats across 50 states. New maps are based on the decennial count of the US population by the US Census Bureau and determine the geographic and political makeup of Congress for the next ten years. Gerrymandering is the practice of drawing or manipulating those district lines to the unfair political advantage of a particular party or group.

In delivering the 4-3 decision, the judges said the map was meant to be temporary and ordered the state's redistricting commission to go back to the drawing board. Although the panel is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, the Democratic Legislature has final authority to accept, reject or modify any commission proposal.

Democrats, who enjoy supermajorities in both state chambers, are unlikely to approve any map that does not improve their candidates’ electoral chances.

In total, New York Democrats will be investing heavily in six districts which Joe Biden won in 2022, but are under GOP control -- making the Empire State the epicenter of the fight for the House majority.

Those lawmakers include first-term congressmen Anthony D’Esposito and Nick LaLota on Long Island, Mike Lawler in the Lower Hudson Valley, Marc Molinaro in the Catskills and Brandon Williams around Syracuse.

Democrats are also favored in the February 13 special election to fill the seat vacated by the December 1 expulsion of disgraced Congressman George Santos (NY-03).

The court ordered the redistricting commission to reconvene and produce a new proposal by no later than February 28.

DemList will keep you informed.

DemDaily: Redistricting Round Up Two: Key States 9/8/23
DemDaily: Redistricting Round Up One: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana 9/7/23

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: AP, CNN, New York Times, Bloomberg, Cook Political Report

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