Albany, NY — After the New York State Court of Appeals declared both the congressional and senate maps void, the Empire Center for Public Policy is submitting its set of maps for New York’s congressional and senate districts for a special master’s consideration.
The Court of Appeals agreed with the Steuben County Supreme Court that the congressional and senate maps were void because the Legislature failed to follow the redistricting procedure in the state Constitution. It further upheld the trial court’s determination that the congressional map, drawn by the Legislature, were unconstitutionally gerrymandered for political gain. Now the process must be handled by a court-appointed special master.
“Clearly, the Legislature has failed to put the interests of New Yorkers ahead of themselves. Now that the courts have directed a nonpartisan special master to create fair maps, it’s time to put this embarrassing chapter of New York history behind us,” said Tim Hoefer, president and CEO of the Empire Center. “We hope our maps can guide the process: providing New Yorkers with legislative districts that actually represent them, instead of political interests.”
The maps were created using the following criteria:
- Compliance with all of the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965;
- Compliance with all constitutional and legal requirements;
- Preservation of borders of counties, town, cities and villages as much as practicable; and
- Creation of compact districts, respectful of local and regional considerations, as much as practicable.
To ensure these maps met these standards, the Empire Center enlisted the help of two independent, respected constitutional scholars to prepare an analysis of the maps. Peter Galie is Professor Emeritus, Canisius College in Buffalo and Christopher Bopst is a Partner at Wilder & Linneball, LLP in Buffalo. They are co-authors or co-editors together on three books and numerous scholarly articles on the New York Constitution.
The Empire Center maps for Congressional, Assembly and Senate districts, Bopst and Galie’s analysis, and other supporting material can be viewed at www.RedistrictNY.com.
The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and raise a family.