Due to this decade’s U.S. Census numbers, the New York City Council, like every legislative body the country, was Constitutionally required to adjust its boundaries to reflect population shifts within its jurisdiction. This afternoon, the city’s Districting Commission released its second, and likely final, proposal for the new lines.
In typical fashion, the State Legislature released their new redistricting maps for the State Senate and State Assembly in the dark of the night on Sunday in an unreadable 20,000 word textual format instead of actually providing visual map.
The Senate Democrats, however, apparently compiled the data and provided the new State Senate maps to reporters.
“Since the Senate Republicans are content on keeping the public in the dark and concealing the maps that they produced, we will do it for them,” Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy wrote. “Attached you will find the maps which show very clearly that there is virtually no change from their previous proposal.”
Albany released the text of the new State Legislative lines last night, but not the maps, resulting in limited clarity for what the new maps will look like. At first glance at the 20,000 word document, it seems a partisan gerrymander remains in place.
However, Albany also released a legible redistricting document last night, the constitutional amendment to permanently reform the process in the future in 2022. The proposed amendment appears designed to lock in this year’s set of maps rather than create any sort of truly independent commission. “The commission shall consider the maintenance of cores of existing districts, of pre-existing political subdivisions, including counties, cities, and towns, and communities of interest,” the bill reads.
Over the last 48 hours, New York’s media, including The Politicker, has been breathlessly providing wall-to-wall coverage of the Senate Republicans’ and Assembly Democrats’ redistricting proposals, which were finally released around midnight last night. Candidates have been reacting strongly as well. One boldly declared a path to victory in last night’s maps, while another amazingly announced his intentions to buy a house in the new district.
However, the maps everyone is reacting to are not likely to relate at all to where the ultimate lines will fall.
First of all, even if the maps had any significant legal weight, it would be impossible to predict how the courts would resolve two opposing proposals.
Secondly, and more importantly, the maps have very little legal influence. One redistricting expert told The Politicker the maps are the equivalent of a “John Q. Public” map that literally anyone can submit to the court.