NY Assembly primaries to proceed; court orders new 2024 maps
NEW YORK (AP) — A New York appeals court is allowing state Assembly elections to proceed this year under redistricting maps drawn by Democrats but ordered lawmakers to revise the maps in time for the 2024 elections.
The maps have come under fire from Republicans and other critics who say the lines signed into law earlier this year give Democrats an unfair advantage.
Two Democrats and a Republican had asked the court to invalidate the Assembly maps and move the primary to August or September, so new ones could be drawn.
In its ruling Friday, a midlevel appeals court agreed that the Assembly maps had been drawn improperly by the state Legislature but upheld a lower court judge who had ruled in May that it was too late in the state’s election season to come up with new district boundaries.
Delaying the primary until September, the court wrote, was no longer feasible.
The court returned the case to a Manhattan judge to decide how the new maps could be revised in time for elections in 2024.
Democrats in the Legislature drew up new maps for state Senate, state Assembly and congressional districts after a bipartisan redistricting panel could not agree on new lines.
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The state’s highest appeals court tossed out the Senate and congressional maps, saying lawmakers had exceeded their authority in drawing them. The Court of Appeals ruling also said the Assembly maps were also probably passed unconstitutionally — but it didn’t strike them down because, at that point, no one had challenged them in court.
Friday’s ruling by the state court’s First Department Appellate Division declared the Assembly maps invalid based on the Court of Appeals’ reasoning.
Jim Walden, the attorney representing the two Democrats and Republican who sued over the Assembly maps, praised the court’s ruling but said he would appeal the part of the decision where the judges declined to move the primary.
“New York’s Constitution actually establishes a process to make sure maps are apolitical, and here the Legislature completely bypassed the constitutional requirements,” he said.
The primary is set for June 28, and the general election is scheduled for Nov. 8.
This story has been corrected to reflect that the lower court ruling in May did not invalidate the maps. The court at that time only declined to move the primary.