New York's Democratic-controlled state Legislature rejected new congressional maps drawn by the state's Independent Redistricting Commission.

The proposal slightly altered the maps drawn by a special master for the 2022 elections.

All indications throughout the Capitol on Monday were this was exactly how the vote was going to go. With petitioning for candidates scheduled to begin just a few hours after the vote, the concern that continues to linger throughout the building, the entire state and even in Washington D.C., is where it goes next.

Without official maps, congressional candidates don't know what the districts they'll be running in will look like. 

“I will be voting in the negative and look forward to working with my colleagues in the Assembly,” Deputy Senate Majority Leader Michael Gianaris said as lawmakers prepared to vote.

Gianaris had indicated earlier Monday that was his intention.

As he spearheaded a vote that turned out to be 40-17, he cited several reasons, including counties being divided, as well as his suspicion that certain lines were drawn to protect incumbents.

The bipartisan IRC has denied this.

“There were numerous problems with the map that was sent to us that run afoul to the guidelines in our state constitution,” he said.

Prior to the vote, which was later joined by a 99-47 rejection in the Assembly, Republicans expressed their support for the proposed maps.

“I rise to commend Chairman Jenkins and Vice Chair Nesbitt for the job they did,” said Long Island Senator Jack Martins.

Martins slammed Democrats for ignoring a 9-1 ruling by the commission, something he said should be celebrated.

“These maps are drawn meticulously, in conformance with law, I think, with all of the best intentions,” he said. “The idea that we had nine members of a 10-member commission, consultants on all sides of the aisle, the representative from the Working Families and the representative from Conservative Party, all voting for these maps should tell us something.”

Blair Horner, executive director of the civic group NYPIRG, said the outcome was the result of a flawed system, with an independent commission that is nonetheless made up, in part, by members of the two parties.

“The failure to create an independent redistricting commission and instead rely on the two major political parties to somehow come up with something in the public interest is the original sin that led to the problems we’ve seen over the last few years,” he said.

The Legislature must now create and vote on its own maps. The potential is still there for more legal action. That is exactly what held things up in 2022, ultimately resulting in congressional primaries being bumped to August.

“If somebody’s not happy, they can always go to the courts, and that can happen any time,” Horner said. “So we’re still wading through the bog of redistricting even after years, when it normally would be done.”

A significant side note of the day was a proposed bill that would require those legal challenges be brought only in one of four counties. The 2022 lawsuit that was part of what ultimately got us here was brought in Steuben County.