WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of voters over New York’s congressional districts and upcoming primary elections. After the state’s highest court struck down the previously-adopted congressional and state Senate maps last week, the districts were sent back to the trial court where the judge, with the assistance of a court-appointed special master, was instructed to “adopt constitutional maps with all due haste.” Due to the additional time needed to redraw districts, the trial court judge issued an order last Friday postponing the primary elections for congressional and state Senate seats from June 28, 2022 to Aug. 23, 2022.
However, the lawsuit filed today points out that New York is under a federal court order to hold non-presidential federal primaries — which includes congressional primaries, but not state Senate primaries — on “the fourth Tuesday in June.” In 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice sued New York for failing to provide uniformed and overseas voters with adequate time to receive and fill out their absentee ballots and, as a result, a federal district court entered a permanent injunction mandating the timing of New York’s non-presidential federal primaries. According to the plaintiffs, postponing congressional primary elections, as the state trial court judge has done, contradicts this federal order. Because the state has failed to adopt new congressional districts in time to comply with the federally-mandated timeline, placing uniformed and overseas voters at risk of disenfranchisement, the lawsuit argues that it is now up to the federal court to step into the process. Since the congressional map drawn with 2010 census data is unconstitutionally malapportioned and contains one more district than New York is allotted following the 2020 census, the plaintiffs suggest that the federal court should adopt the congressional map passed by the New York Legislature and signed by the governor earlier this year. In support of this, the plaintiffs highlight that this map “is the plan that all of New York’s congressional candidates campaigned under, gathered petitions under, and are prepared to run under” and it “is also the plan that New York state courts were prepared to use for its 2022 elections until just recently.”