New York enacts new congressional and legislative maps

New York enacted new congressional and legislative districts on Feb. 3, 2022, when Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed legislatively approved proposals into law. New York was apportioned 26 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, one fewer than it received after the 2010 census. The congressional and legislative maps will take effect for New York’s 2022 elections.

The New York State Senate approved the congressional map 43-20, and the New York State Assembly approved the map 103-45 on Feb. 2. The following day, both chambers approved the state Senate and House maps, which were housed in a single bill. The state Senate voted 43-20 to approve, and the state House voted 120-27 to approve.

Following the passage of the maps, Hochul said: “These bills are necessary to reapportion districts and to provide certainty and clarity regarding such districts in a timely manner, allowing for efficient administration of the electoral process.” State Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy criticized the maps, saying: “There is a wild, partisan gerrymandering that took place here. It violates the state Constitution, and we’re going to try to get justice.”

Due to the passage of a state constitutional amendment in 2014, the New York Independent Redistricting Commission originally was responsible for drafting congressional and state legislative maps. The commission would then submit a proposal to the New York State Legislature for approval. The commission had ten members: Democratic legislative leaders appointed four, Republican legislative leaders appointed four, and those eight members voted to select two more.

The commission first met to vote on congressional and legislative maps on Jan. 3. The commission voted 5-5, so it submitted two sets of proposals to the legislature. The New York State Legislature voted down the map proposals on Jan. 10, meaning the commission had until Jan. 25 to draw new maps. The commission announced on Jan. 24 it would not be submitting a new set of maps to the legislature. Since the commission did not transmit maps, the legislature assumed authority over redistricting. This meant the maps required Hochul’s signature to be enacted.

Following the commission’s Jan. 3 tie vote, Commission Vice Chair Jack Martins, a Republican, said: “We didn’t reach agreement, simply because one side turned their backs and walked away.” Commission Chair David Imamura, a Democrat, said: “I did not join this commission to allow my Republican colleagues to hold hostage the hopes of New York’s most disadvantaged voters in an effort to regain GOP majorities.” The Buffalo News editorial board wrote of the tie vote: “That outcome was baked into the system created by a 2014 constitutional amendment. With both parties angling for advantage, the failure of Republicans and Democrats to agree was inevitable. Balanced is not the same as independent.”

Twenty-seven states have adopted new congressional maps, and one state has approved congressional district boundaries that have not yet taken effect as of Feb. 4. Federal or state courts have blocked previously adopted maps in two states, and 13 states have not yet adopted congressional redistricting plans after the 2020 census. Thirty-five states had enacted congressional redistricting plans as of February 4, 2012.

Thirty-one states have adopted legislative district maps for both chambers, and one state has adopted maps that have not yet gone into effect as of Feb. 4. The state supreme court in one state has overturned previously enacted maps, and 17 states have not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans after the 2020 census. Thirty-six states had enacted legislative redistricting plans after the 2010 census as of February 4, 2012.

Nationwide, states have completed legislative redistricting for 1,305 of 1,972 state Senate seats (66.2%), 2,976 of 5,411 state House seats (55.0%), and 299 of the 435 seats (68.7%) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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