The Democrat-controlled New York State Legislature will likely take control of the state’s redistricting process, a move that could help the party flip a handful of congressional seats ahead of this year’s midterm elections, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The New York State Independent Redistricting Commission, created in 2014 after New York voters approved a constitutional amendment establishing a commission for both congressional and state legislative redistricting in an effort to remove the legislature from the politically charges process, was supposed to reach a consensus on new lines by Jan. 3.
They couldn’t agree. The 10 commissioners voted along party lines and also chose to send two dueling, nonbinding proposals to Albany for consideration.
Lawmakers could adopt one of the proposals or send them back for further revision. A decision could be made as early as next week.
Political analysts and experts expect Democrats to reject the maps.
“If Democrats in Albany think the votes are there to pass what they want, it’s hard to see why they would take anything the commission does seriously,” Dave Wasserman, a national elections analyst with the Cook Political Report, told The New York Times.
Even the Democratic commissioner’s proposal for the state’s 26 congressional districts would leave as many as nine districts open for possible Republican victories in the fall elections, says Wasserman.
"I never favor unilateral disarmament," New York Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs told Spectrum News. "Republicans across the country are redrawing congressional lines to favor their candidates. Without being obnoxious in New York, if lines are drawn with communities and help Democrats then that is the course we should take."
A more aggressive gerrymander could limit the GOP to just three or so seats — zero in New York City.
The outcome now, though, is unclear.
New York’s current congressional lines were drafted by a federal court in 2012.
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