Democrats in New York anticipated to support their proposed House map

Democratic state legislators in New York are anticipated to decline a House map put forward by a bipartisan commission and instead support the district lines they are currently creating themselves, according to three individuals familiar with the negotiations.

According to anonymous officials familiar with the discussions, the Democratic-drawn map currently being considered is not expected to differ significantly from the ones previously released by the commission two weeks ago. However, if the Legislature chooses to adopt its own map, it could potentially give rise to a legal challenge from Republicans regarding the newly proposed district lines.

The drama surrounding redistricting in New York is intensified due to the high stakes for both political parties. With a half dozen swing seats in the state, the outcome of this process could ultimately determine which party gains control of the narrowly divided House in the upcoming year.

Legislators are currently reviewing a proposed map that aims to alter the House lines in Long Island and the Hudson Valley regions. While this adjustment would result in minimal changes to the House seats in New York City.

Last year, the state’s top court triggered the drawing of new House lines after determining that the current map was only intended for a two-year election cycle.

Republicans in the New York City suburbs, who saw gains in battleground House districts in 2022, have expressed their support for the map put forward by the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission. The commission is composed of both Republicans and Democrats, and was appointed by state lawmakers.

The commission’s proposed House map resulted in minor adjustments. However, Democrats, who are determined to secure control of the House, have criticized the commission’s proposal.

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House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ office strongly criticized the commission’s work and urged state lawmakers to thoroughly examine the boundaries.

Privately, Democrats in the Legislature have had differing opinions on how to move forward. Some lawmakers have recognized the significant implications of approving the map, with one person in the negotiations even expressing concern for the state of democracy.

In a recent interview, Former Rep. John Faso, who has been leading the GOP’s legal efforts on redistricting, expressed his reluctance to speculate on anything until he has had the opportunity to review the entire map.

In expressing his doubts about their capabilities, he remarked, “Given their track record, I don’t have much faith in their actions. However, hope remains eternal.”

The commission’s plan aimed to give Democrats an advantage in the district currently represented by Republican Brandon Williams. Democratic Rep. Pat Ryan and Republican Rep. Marc Molinaro would have also seen slight improvements in their chances of being reelected.

Lawmakers are expected to adhere to the guidelines set forth in the 2012 legislation, which states that the districts they create must not deviate by more than 2 percent from the boundaries established by the commission. This means that in order for the amended map to be approved by the Legislature, at least 761,000 individuals out of the 777,000 total population in a district as determined by the commission would need to remain unchanged.

There will be some changes to the maps drawn by the commission, although they may not be drastic overhauls.

State legislators are facing a demanding deadline.

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The Legislature might vote to reject the map drawn by the commission as early as Monday. In that case, the Democratic-controlled Legislature would then present their own House map, which could potentially gain approval within this week.

Governor Kathy Hochul has made it clear that she is not participating in the internal redistricting talks. She has emphasized that she will not interfere or try to sway the outcome in any way.

Congressional hopefuls will begin collecting signatures on Tuesday, and members are expected to make adjustments to the rules for petitioning for ballot access this year.

According to one lawmaker, the specific alterations are still subject to change.

The discussion on ballot access will take place during the closed-door Democratic conference meetings in both houses. These meetings began shortly after noon on Monday.

One of the topics up for discussion is a bill that aims to restrict the venues where Republican court cases can be filed.

A bill introduced by Sen. Zellnor Myrie and Assemblymember William Magnarelli during this session aimed to limit the jurisdiction for legal challenges to Albany County. This was a direct response to the Republican Party’s decision to file their lawsuit in Steuben County for the upcoming 2022 elections.

However, lawmakers, especially in the Assembly, were never completely convinced by such a limited proposal.

Myrie and Magnarelli made revisions to their bill on Friday, specifying that redistricting challenges can only be filed in Albany, Manhattan, Westchester, or Erie counties. The updated version of the measure is expected to be voted on Monday.

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