The New York Independent Redistricting Commission will hold a public meeting in Albany on Thursday to vote on a new set of the state’s congressional maps, the panel announced Monday, a significant step forward in the state’s years-long battle over redistricting that could be decisive in the elections this fall for control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The panel will also have to vote on sending their new version of maps to the Legislature, which will have to approve them.
New map proposals have not yet been released to the public.
The commission faced a Feb. 28 deadline following a significant ruling by the state Court of Appeals back in December that found the commission “failed to discharge its constitutional duty” the last time it proposed House maps following the 2020 Census and could reconvene and submit new ones to the state Legislature.
The House district boundaries the commission propose will ultimately have long-lasting ramifications for New York and the country going into the 2024 elections, and potentially for the next decade.
The congressional lines currently in place drawn by a special master after the same Court of Appeals struck down previous Democratic-drawn maps in the spring 2022, ruling them as procedurally unconstitutional and “drawn with impermissible partisan purpose.” The Legislature drew the maps because Democrats and Republicans on the Independent Redistricting Commission failed to agree on a set of maps in time. The Legislature’s maps were criticized heavily at the time by good government groups and Republicans as being heavily gerrymandered to benefit Democratic candidates. Democrats countered that argument by saying the maps represented the state’s overall Democratic electorate.
The special master-drawn maps had consequential outcomes in the 2022 midterm elections. While still taking the House of Representatives, Republicans underperformed nationwide. But in New York, the GOP did exceedingly well, winning five out of the state’s six competitive House races, flipping four seats previously held by Democrats in the process, including the House Democrats’ campaign chief.
Since the GOP won a five-seat majority in the House, those four flips proved instrumental to the current political landscape in Washington, D.C. After a change on the state Court of Appeals, Democrats resurfaced the case.
In the past few months, Republicans in the New York House delegation and other powerful GOP officials crisscrossed the state to vocalize their opposition to Democrats’ efforts to return the issue to the courts to get to this point. Lee Zeldin, the former Long Island congressman who was the Republican nominee for governor in 2022, told Capital Tonight last week that the Independent Redistricting Commission should just adopt the current maps in order to stem the confusion that has arisen out of multiple rounds of map-making.