Two competing proposals advance, and the 'Failure to compromise could pave the way for Democrats to step in and eliminate Republican seats in Congress.
The new biparal redistribution commissionNew York City got off to a bad start on Wednesday, with its Democratic and Republican members failing to agree on an initial set of congressional and legislative card proposals.
Instead, the New York St ate Independent Redistricting Commission, the body empowered by voters to withdraw from politics of the mapping process, said it would proceed for now with two competing proposals, one developed by its Democratic members and another by Republicans.
With New York is set to lose a seat in its delegation to Congress after last year's census, the two cards proposed to eliminate a northern district of State, where the population has declined. But the republican planappeared to offer his party's candidates a better chance of retaining seats in North and West New York, as well as Staten Island, while the Democrats' proposals seemed more likely to extend the dominance of their party in Congress by moving more seats down the state.
Nothing in the state constitution requires the commission, which is drawing lines for the first time since its creation in 2014, to 'accept a single set of maps for the Congressional, Assembly and State Senate districts at this point in the process. But the partisan feud over what amounts to a preliminary discussion lacks optimism that the commission can unite around a single set of bipartisan cards to present to Albany for ratification.
Its failure could pave the way for Democratic supermajorities in Albany to intervene to decomplete the final cards. Party leaders there and in Washington are already quietly circling around in case the commission cannot come to a final deal or produce a final result like the party leaders. They hope to use the process to eliminate up to five Republican seats in Congress , strengthening the party nationwide as it attempts to maintain a narrow majority in the House and consolidate permanent majorities in the legislature.
Under the New York Constitution, the Redistribution Commission leads the way in card drawing. But if he fails to come to a consensus among himself or if he provides lawmakers with a map that they just don't like, the Legislature can overpower the body and establish almost any cardof his choice, provided that the districts meet constitutional requirements and are roughly equal in size.
Republicans in New York and New York Albany will certainly balk at the process and could challenge the outcome in court, which mapped out the current map of Congress in 2012 amid a partisan row in Albany.
Republican commissioners wereted no time in pointing fingers at their Democratic counterparts, whom they accused of halting talks in recent days that were meant to try to reconcile competing cards. Privately, Republicans fear that Democratic commissioners have no intention of reaching a deal and prefer to let the body fail so they can kickstart the process directly to the legislature to draw more advantageous cards. for their party.
Republicans on the committee lamented the lack of consensus, as well as the weaknesses they saw in Democratic plans. Independent commissioner Ross Brady said he " 'great hope for supreme disappointment ", noting in particular what he called " big deviations "from the population on the Democrats map.
Democrats were prepared to argue, however, that competing cards might be a good thing, allowing voters to compare alternative lines to advise the commission which They preferred. The commissioners stressed that the presentation of two decks of cards on Wednesday had not closed the door on the possibility that they would end up reaching a consensus and releasing a single deck.
New York voters created the independent commission by constitutional amendment in 2014, but itsoutlines were the product of a compromise between Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the Republicans, who controlled the State Senate at the time. The idea was to take the plotting out of the hands of legislators in the Legislative Assembly eager to protect their party and their incumbents and to give it, starting this year, to a bipartisan body that could fairly peck the land. State.
But the commission has struggled to assert its independence from the start, and critics say its structure - with most of those appointed by chiefs party in the Legislative Assembly - makes compromise extremely difficult.
The panel did not receive funding from Al bany until in April, forcing Commissioners to volunteer their time for the first eight months. The Legislature, on the other hand, continued to fund its own card-drawing task force year after year.
The panel also did not receive detailed census data until last month due to national delays; the panel is still awaiting the state prison population data the commission needs to refine its maps.