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Appellate panel sides with Democrats in attempt to redraw New York's congressional maps

An appeals court sided with Democrats in their attempts to get a court to redraw New York's congressional district maps ahead of 2024.
New York state
New York’s current congressional maps.

A mid-level appellate court sided with Democrats Thursday in their attempt to overturn New York’s congressional maps.

The panel was split 3-2 in its ruling, which reverses a lower court’s decision. Republicans immediately announced they would appeal the decision to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.

“On to the Court of Appeals,” former GOP Rep. John Faso, who is coordinating redistricting efforts for Republicans said via a statement Thursday. “We remain confident the Court of Appeals will uphold the decision in Harkenrider v. Hochul - that the fair lines established by the District Court will be maintained and will preserve the New York Constitution's prohibition against mid-decade redistricting.”

The current congressional districts were drawn by a court after Republicans successfully challenged the way the state legislature redrew them, claiming it was unconstitutional.

The Democrat-backed plaintiffs in the case argued those lines were only supposed to be in place for the 2022 election cycle and the state’s redistricting commission should get another shot at proposing them to the legislature ahead of the 2024 elections.

“New Yorkers deserve the fair lines and fair process they voted for, and today’s decision is a huge step in the right direction,” Aria Branch, an attorney for the Democrat-backed plaintiffs wrote in a statement.

The majority agreed, and ordered the commission to start drawing new lines. But whether that actually happens will be up to the Court of Appeals.

Four districts under the current court-drawn maps are considered toss ups by Cook Political Report, a ratings agency. Republicans won in all four of those districts in last year’s midterm elections. By redrawing the maps, Democrats could very likely tilt the makeup of those districts in their favor ahead of 2024.

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Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.