Common Cause/NY Calls for Overhaul of Redistricting Process Following Leg's Decision to Draw its Own Maps

NEW YORK, NY (02/27/2024) (readMedia)-- Yesterday, the New York State Legislature announced it will draw its own congressional maps after rejecting a map proposal from the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC). In response, Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause New York, issued the following statement:

"The Legislature's decision to draw its own congressional maps behind closed doors and reject the work of the State's redistricting commission continues to undermine public confidence in the fairness of the maps. Since New York's redistricting saga began more than two years ago, politicians from both parties have attempted to hijack what should be a nonpartisan process, while wasting millions in taxpayer dollars to do so. The result has been confusion and chaos for voters, not to mention candidates. Common Cause/NY's position is that at this late date, we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good, accept the maps drawn by the IRC, and lawmakers should advance an amendment that enshrines a citizen-led redistricting process - based on the gold standard in California - into the constitution now.

The new map presented by lawmakers today makes minor changes to the IRC's proposal, but it is nonetheless a disappointing result for voters who were sidelined in favor of politicians looking to insulate their fellow lawmakers and weaken opponents. Geographic and political communities should not be pawns for lawmakers to draw their own boundaries, but these changes only further cement that concern."


Earlier this month, at the order of the State's Court of Appeals, the Independent Redistricting Commission's (IRC) delivered a proposal for new congressional maps to the Legislature for its consideration.

That decision followed a lengthy legal saga in which voters had twice sued the Commission, claiming the state Legislature had no authority to create its own congressional map in the first place. After the New York Court of Appeals tossed the congressional maps made by the Legislature and implemented a neutral map in 2022, voters again sued the Commission, leading to the Court's decision to restart the process ahead of the 2024 election cycle.

Since the IRC restarted its mapmaking process, Common Cause/NY has repeatedly advocated for a more open process that prioritizes public input and transparency. In January, Common Cause/NY joined a coalition of voting and civil rights groups to demand the Commission conduct deliberations in public and hold hybrid hearings across the state. The previous month, Common Cause/NY and several other organizations wrote a letter to Commissioners demanding they hold hybrid hearings and allow written testimony from the public, though the Commission declined to do so.