FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, April 27, 2022

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Ross Sherman, RepresentUs PR Strategist, 207-749-2660, rsherman@represent.us

 

ALBANY – The New York State Court of Appeals tossed the state legislature’s extremely gerrymandered congressional map Wednesday, putting an end to a legal fight that had been playing out since the map was signed into law. A court-appointed special master will now draw the replacement map. 

RepresentUs’s and the Princeton Gerrymandering Project’s Redistricting Report Card gave the map an overall “F” because it advantages Democrats and protects incumbents. It also received a “C” in partisan fairness, an “F” in competitiveness, and an “F” in geographic features.

State courts have been a critical bulwark to gerrymandering in both red and blue states this redistricting cycle, with similar rulings in Maryland, Ohio, and Alabama.

New York has an advisory redistricting commission, which produced two “A” maps: one drawn by Republicans and one drawn by Democrats. But because advisory commissions don’t have final say over maps, the Democrat-run Legislature was able to take over the process and pass maps with a partisan advantage.

“This is a victory for voters and for representative democracy. New York Democrats were wrong to ignore the will of voters and the law, and the court was right to strike down this awfully gerrymandered map. Politicians of either party should never be in total control of drawing maps,” said RepresentUs CEO Joshua Graham Lynn. “New York’s advisory commission produced two fair “A” maps. We’ll be looking for the special master’s map to reflect the will of New York voters.”

RepresentUs has tracked the average grades for maps drawn by commissions and maps drawn by legislatures. Among states the Redistricting Report Card has grades for, commissions are averaging “B+” maps while legislatures are averaging “D+” maps. 

While states with any kind of commission are drawing fairer maps on average, not all commissions are created equal. Independent commissions are the gold standard because they are isolated from politicians, have strong standards for the maps, and use effective structural constraints to prevent partisanship. RepresentUs recently released an interactive website showing how each state did drawing redistricting maps.

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