Redistricting commission created to promote unity releases two partisan maps

Sep 15, 2021

The state’s independent redistricting commission was unable to avoid partisan divides, releasing two opposing maps to redesign congressional and state elected office districts, one backed by Democrats, the other backed by Republicans.

Several commissioners from both parties expressed disappointment that they could not agree on just one set of maps.

GOP Commissioner Charlie Nesbitt questioned whether releasing two different maps is even constitutional, under the rules set up for what is supposed to be a politically independent body.

“We’re here at the behest of the people of New York, who went through the difficult process of changing the constitution of the state to get rid of the gerrymandering of the past,” said Nesbitt. “Let’s just do better.”

Nesbitt, along with the other commissioners, voted to approve both maps. Public hearings will be held around the state in late October and early November, before final maps are drawn by Jan. 15.

There is one element that all commissioners will have to agree on. The state needs to eliminate one congressional district, from 27 to 26. New York lost population relative to other states in the 2020 census.