NYC Residents to be Have Input in Redistricting Maps

NEW YORK -
Two sets of maps released by the Independent Redistricting Commission along partisan lines, in September, 2021. (The Independent Redistricting Commission)

New York City residents will have the opportunity to weigh in on redistricting maps, after the Independent Redistricting Commission publicly released potential maps, the Gothamist reported.

The commission, which is comprised of Republicans, Democrats, and independents, was formed in 2014 after years of accusations that the State Legislature, which previously determined the maps, gerrymandered in order to weigh the balance in favor one political party over the other.

In September, the nonpartisan commission failed to come to an agreement on how to redraw the Assembly, Senate, and congressional lines for 2020 through 2030, and released the maps to the public. Now, two months later, residents will be able to voice their views on the possible new districts, which can increase or undermine the political weight of their area.

Several public hearings will be held throughout the state this month. One will be held in Brooklyn on November 16, in Medgar Evers College at 3 P.M.

Republicans have claimed that one of the speculative maps was designed to dilute Republican influence upstate by splitting traditional GOP-leaning districts.

“I can not help but be disappointed and regret the fact that we were not able as a commission to actually put a single product together,” Jack Martins, a Republican appointee and former state senator, told Gothamist.

Once the public hearings conclude, mapmakers will incorporate the input in their second drafts. If those are also rejected, the State Legislature may step in and draw their own version, which would likely tilt heavily in favor of Democrats, who control the Assembly. Two-thirds of legislators per legislative body are required to vote in favor of the maps if one party controls the bodies.

The commission is required to submit their maps to the State Legislature by January 15. If they are rejected by lawmakers or vetoed by Governor Kathy Hochul, the commission has until February 28 to submit a second set of proposed maps.