Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images
A new set of maps of New York’s 26 congressional and 63 state Senate districts were approved Friday night by an upstate judge.which were developed by a court-appointed expert tasked with drawing nonpartisan boundaries.
The new maps got their approval a month after the New York State Supreme Court rejected the lines that were drawn by Democrats earlier in the year, on the grounds that they were unconstitutionally rigged and did not follow the proper redistricting process.
For his part, Patrick McAllister, a Steuben County Supreme Court Justice, rejected criticism that the new lines favor Republicans.
“Unfortunately, some people have encouraged the public to believe that the court can now create its own rigged maps that favor Republicans.McAllister noted during the approval filed on Friday. “This could not be further from the truth. The court is not politically biased.
“The time frame for developing new maps was less than ideal, not by choice, but by necessity,” he emphasized.
The preliminary maps that were released earlier this week caused controversy, with critics accusing Jonathan Cervas, in charge of map distribution, of of “intentionally” ignoring communities of interest in the citycausing thousands of letters to be sent to McAllister to adjust the maps before approval.
Cervas noted in his presentation that changes were made to preliminary maps that now link Brooklyn neighborhoods that contain historically African-American communities.
Also, the final maps generated Democratic backlash, because Midtown Manhattan it is now combined with the Upper East and Upper West Sides into one districtpitting Democratic Representatives Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney against each other.
Rejecting the lines drawn by Democrats, the Court of Appeals ruled that the Democratic-led Legislature “unfairly” drew party-leaning districts and ignored a constitutionally mandated process after an independent commission failed to reach a consensus on the distribution of the lines.
This is how maps produced by the Democrats would have given them an advantage in 22 of the 26 electoral districts in the state. With the new approval, the newly proposed lines contain eight competitive districts. Meanwhile, Republicans need only win five seats to change the House from blue to red in the November election.
The primaries for the New York State Congress and Senate are scheduled for August 23, in order to give Cervas time to finalize his maps. Meanwhile, the caucus and gubernatorial primary are still scheduled for June 28.
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