New York legislature approved new congressional map News
Navya Sriramaneni, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
New York legislature approved new congressional map

New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed on Wednesday new congressional maps into law. The new legislation is set to take effect immediately.

These new maps have been rather controversial since being proposed. In 2022, it was alleged that they were gerrymandered “to protect Democratic incumbents.” After Republicans filed a suit against Hochul, the New York Court of Appeals held that the congressional maps adopted by the legislature were unconstitutional. The court appointed the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission (NYIRC) to amend state law and repeal articles seven and eight of the New York Constitution.

Last week, the NYIRC approved of a congressional plan and voted to send their map proposal to the New York State Legislature. The proposal was in accordance with the state’s constitution and the order from the Supreme Court case. While the proposal did not significantly alter the existing congressional lines, there were changes in three competitive districts. These changes likely would have helped Democrats in two districts and Republicans in one.

The Democrat-led legislature rejected the NYRIC’s plan Monday, allowing Democrats to submit new congressional lines. The congressional race in November is set to determine which party will control the House of Representatives. House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ spokesperson, Andy Eichar, spoke of the rejection:

The map adopted by the Independent Redistricting Commission should be meticulously scrutinized by the New York State Legislature, particularly as it relates to compliance with provisions in the State Constitution designed to protect historically under-represented communities. There is reason to be concerned with the failure of the IRC to address many of the flaws in the current map drawn by an unelected, out-of-town special master in 2022…Now that the Independent Redistricting Commission has completed its work, it is important that the legislature ensure – as the Constitution contemplates – that the people of New York State be afforded a fairly drawn congressional map.

It was expected that the maps proposed by the Democrats after this rejection would be gerrymandered. However, many of the adjustments were to small suburban districts. While these districts were still altered enough to give Democrats a potential boost, Republicans were not upset with the maps and believe they may not help Democrats as much as speculated.