Appellate judge tosses state Assembly maps

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The New York State Assembly maps has adopted by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul in February are void, according to a state Appellate Court ruling on Friday.

The now-tossed Assembly district lines will remain in place for the June 28 primary and the Nov. 8 general election.

“This was a great day, not just for me, not just the other petitioners, but for all New Yorkers who value the law and value the constitution,” said New York Young Republican Club President Gavin Wax, who filed the initial challenge to the state Assembly maps. “Today is the day we went up against the Albany machine and we won.”

State Appellate Judge Susanna Molina Rojas ruled the Assembly maps were invalid because the Legislature drew its own lines after the state Independent Redistricting Commission failed to propose a second set of maps. The Legislature voted down the commission’s initial proposed lines after commissioners failed to reach consensus.

Gov. Hochul’s office says she’s reviewing the decision.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s office declined to comment.

“It’s a huge win for democracy in New York,” said plaintiff Gary Greenberg, a Democrat and Hudson Valley activist. “Speaker Heastie, Majority Leader [Andrea] Stewart-Cousins and Gov. Hochul wastefully spent millions of taxpayers’ money to defend unconstitutional lines.

“…All incumbents who vote to protect their political careers over the will of the people should be voted out of office.”

Last year, the Legislature passed a bill to allow lawmakers to redraw the maps if the commission didn’t complete its task. The state constitution’s language about the commission proposing subsequent maps is ambiguous.

“That’s what led to today’s decision,” said Jeff Wice, an elections and redistricting lawyer and senior fellow at New York Law School.

The Supreme Court in New York County will determine the process for redrawing the Assembly maps for the 2024 elections.

“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,” according to the ruling.

CUNY Graduate Center’s Redistricting & You mapping tool, which allows a user to view and compare the current and proposed congressional and legislative election lines, added a note to the site about Friday’s ruling invalidating the new Assembly districts.

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