It’s take two for New York’s attempt at independent redistricting.
On Thursday, a state appeals judge ruled that the Independent Redistricting Commission, which was unable to get a finalized legislative maps through this year, will be tasked with drawing new district lines for the state Assembly after those lines were thrown out by a state Supreme Court judge for being unconstitutional.
Michael Li, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program, told Capital Tonight that the IRC route was taken rather than having a special master draw the lines because there aren’t the same time constraints as there were for the Senate and congressional lines, which were thrown out earlier.
The Independent Redistricting Commission was established after voters approved a state constitutional amendment in 2014. The commission is made up of 10 members with eight members being selected by legislative leaders. The remaining two members are selected by the eight other members. Li said the problem with the setup of the commission is that it is “very easy to deadlock” and that the commission isn’t truly independent if it is made up of appointees of legislative leaders.
The commission will need to come up with new maps for the Assembly, according to the judge’s order. If the commission fails to finalize new maps, the Legislature will be able to create their own lines. However, the judge can veto any map the Legislature agrees to.
The candidates for the legislative lines for the Senate and House of Representatives drawn by the special master and the soon-to-be thrown out Assembly districts will be on the ballot in 2022. The new district lines for the Assembly will take effect after the 2024 election or potentially earlier.
Li said there has been “a lot of dissatisfaction with the way redistricting went down this cycle in New York at every level.”
Li added that he believes there will be an attempt to change the redistricting process before the next cycle in 2032 but it is still unclear what those changes will look like.