WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission released two sets of draft U.S. House, state Senate and state Assembly maps. The maps labeled “Letters” were presented by the Commission’s Democratic appointees and “Names” are the Republican-backed maps. “We were not able to come to a consensus on a single map,” said Republican appointee and former state Sen. Jack Martins. “I see our responsibility as members of this commission as putting aside partisan differences … We tried to, and unfortunately it was for naught.” New York lost one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the latest reapportionment by the U.S. Census Bureau.
During the 2010 process, the state Legislature was responsible for redistricting. In 2014, residents approved a constitutional amendment to establish a ten-member independent commission. However, voting rules are based on party control of the Legislature; with the state Senate and General Assembly controlled by Democrats, the maps will need seven commission votes and are still subject to legislative approval. Reports say statehouse Democrats intend to overrule the commission’s maps in their favor if necessary, and a 2021 ballot initiative would further alter the commission’s procedures by lowering the vote threshold for adoption. The commission hosted a round of public hearings in July and presented the schedule today for public input on the drafts in the upcoming weeks.