NY redistricting: Back to drawing board as Dem lawmakers reject map by bipartisan panel

The political lines to be used for New York's congressional races this year are in limbo again after Democratic lawmakers in Albany rejected a map proposed this month by an independent panel.

Democratic supermajorities in both the Assembly and Senate tossed the redrawn lines for the state's 26 House seats, mustering the legally required two-thirds votes to do so. They overcame solid support by the Republican minorities for the map made by the Independent Redistricting Commission.

The vote tallies rejecting the lines were 40-17 in the Senate and 99-47 in the Assembly.

What happens now?

The next step is for Democratic leaders to craft and hold votes on their own version of the congressional map, presumably one more favorable to at least some of their House candidates.

The New York State Capitol Building in Albany on January 17, 2021.
The New York State Capitol Building in Albany on January 17, 2021.

But with that comes the prospect of a Republican lawsuit challenging their map as partisan gerrymandering. That is what happened in 2022, when a GOP court challenge led to the dismissal of the legislature's lines and substitution of a map drawn by a court-appointed special master.

The continued tinkering with New York's House lines comes late in the political calendar, with candidates set to begin collecting petition signatures on Tuesday. The state may need to shorten its petitioning period and reduce how many signatures are needed in order to avoid delaying the June 25 primaries for House seats.

IRC map: See newest Congressional redistricting map in NY: Which lines changed?

How did we get new redistricting maps in NY?

The Independent Redistricting Commission took another run at the House lines after a ruling in December by the Court of Appeals, the state's highest court. Democrats won a case to redo the lines set for the 2022 elections, after arguing the commission was legally required to try again. Republicans, who flipped four formerly Democratic seats in 2022, fought to preserve that map.

The map approved by the commission in a 9-1 vote on Feb. 15 — supported by both Democratic and Republican appointees — made line changes that offered benefits for both sides: boosts for Republican Rep. Marc Molinaro and Democratic Rep. Pat Ryan. A Syracuse-area Republican, Brandon Williams, would face a tougher re-election race under the proposed lines.

Dems win: NY to draw redistricting lines again, top court rules. What that means for 2024 races

Democratic leaders in Albany haven't revealed yet what map changes they will propose.

The jockeying over New York's House lines is part of a part of a battle for a handful of swing seats in the state that will help determine House control after this year's elections. Republican victories two years ago help deliver the party's slim majority in that chamber.

Chris McKenna covers government and politics for The Journal News and USA Today Network. Reach him at cmckenna@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: NY redistricting hits snag: Dems reject latest map. What happens now?