An appellate division of the New York Supreme Court ruled on June 10 that the state’s Assembly district boundaries adopted in February 2022 were invalid but should still be used for the 2022 legislative elections. The appellate division ruling determined that the Assembly district map was enacted in violation of the state’s constitutional redistricting process and that a New York City-based state trial court should oversee new boundaries for the 2024 elections.
The court’s order said, “The petition is timely to the extent it seeks a declaration that the February 2022 assembly map is invalid due to procedural infirmities in the manner in which it was adopted…and, consistent with that decision, we so declare.” The order also said, “The request for a delay of the 2022 assembly primary elections is denied in any event, because the redrawing and implementing of a new assembly map before a 2022 primary election delayed even until September is, at this late date, no longer feasible.”
New York enacted new state Senate districts on May 20 when Steuben County Surrogate Court Justice Patrick McAllister ordered the adoption of maps drawn by a court-appointed redistricting special master. McAllister had overturned the Senate district boundaries on March 31 for violating the state’s process for redistricting. The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, upheld McAllister’s decision on April 27. On April 29, McAllister postponed New York’s primary elections for congressional and legislative districts to August 23.
In 2014, New York voters approved a constitutional amendment establishing new redistricting procedures beginning in 2020. This amendment created a 10-member commission to adopt redistricting plans, with state legislative leaders appointing eight members of the commission and the commission itself selecting the other two members. The amendment required that the legislature reject two separate sets of redistricting plans before amending the commission’s proposals and districts not be drawn to favor or disfavor candidates or parties. In prior redistricting cycles, the legislature was responsible for its own redistricting.
The commission voted 5-5 on January 3, 2022, on two sets of proposals for legislative redistricting, so it submitted both sets of proposals to the legislature. Both the state Assembly and state Senate voted down the map proposals on January 10 and the commission did not submit a new set of maps to the legislature. On February 3, 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed new state legislative district boundaries that the legislature had developed after the state Senate approved them 43-20 and the state Assembly approved, 120-27.