refuses to launch New York Assembly redistricting cards | New York News
By MARINA VILLENEUVE, Associated Press
ALBANY, NY (AP) — A New York judge on Wednesday refused to release new political maps setting out the boundaries of the state’s Assembly districts, saying that even though they were drafted incorrectly, opponents had waited too long to join the trial challenging them in court.
If upheld, Judge Patrick McAllister’s decision would give Democrats a minor victory in the redistricting battle in New York. Previous court rulings have struck down the party’s new preferred maps for state Senate and U.S. House districts as unconstitutional.
In his ruling, McAllister said the state Assembly district maps were also “unconstitutional in the manner in which they were enacted” by the state legislature.
But the judge said it would cause ‘utter confusion’ to allow people challenging the Assembly cards, Democratic activist Gary Greenberg and conservative political commentator Gavin Wax, to join an ongoing lawsuit over the cards of the Senate and Congress.
McAllister said Greenberg and Wax were aware of the lawsuit when it was filed in February: “Yet they chose not to do anything at that time.”
The judge said the couple could still file a separate lawsuit challenging the Assembly cards. But he said letting them raise their case in the ongoing lawsuit would likely mean New York wouldn’t have all its cards ready in time for a primary this year.
New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled last month that the Democratic-controlled Legislature failed to follow an anti-gerrymandering constitutional process approved by voters in 2014 when it nominated new political constituencies for the 2022 elections.
But the appeals court did not order the drawing of new Assembly maps because a group of GOP voters who continued the redistricting process did not specifically challenge them in their lawsuit. They only tackled maps of the US House and State Senate seats.
A redistricting expert, hired by McAllister, is currently working to redraw the Congressional and Senate districts under court supervision.
New York plans to hold Assembly and gubernatorial primaries on June 28. The state Senate and congressional primaries have been postponed to August 23 to allow time for the mapping process.
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