Drawing the Lines, Where Does New York Go from Here?
This program does not carry MCLE credit and is intended for informational purposes only.
New York’s Congressional and State Senate maps have been set for the next 10 years. Drawn by a special master after the Court of Appeals found the Legislature’s version to be unconstitutional, there is little agreement on the final version of these maps and the process by which they were created, except on this one point: The reform redistricting process added in 2014 to eliminate gerrymandering did not work.
The constitutional amendment passed by two separately elected state Legislatures and approved by the voters in that year was supposed to “fix” the hyper-partisan decennial redistricting process that has long been a feature of New York’s legislative politics.
The supposed solution was to hand the responsibility over to a supposedly “Independent” commission made up of five Democrats and five Republicans the workings of which Rube Goldberg might have designed. Clearly, that solution was a failure.
Now, with the 2022 election season upended and candidates’ scrambling to figure out where they’re running, and for what, the question remains: Was this year’s mess a matter of user error, as some critics claim, or was the supposed fix flawed from the start, perhaps by design?
Some good government organizations are already agitating for changes to be put in place for the next round of line-drawing in 2032. Is that actually necessary? What brought us to this point? And is removing the politics from a process that is inherently political even possible in the first place? If not, why try?
Susan Lerner, Executive Director, Common Cause NY
Steven Romalewski, Director, CUNY Mapping Service
Jeffrey M. Wice, Adjunct Professor/Senior Fellow, NY Census & Redistricting Institute, New York Law School
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- June 9, 2022
- Online On-Demand