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Redistricting panel votes to send new draft Assembly maps to Legislature

Maps for New York State Assembly districts will need to be redrawn, a court ordered Friday. (Vaughn Golden/WSKG)
Vaughn Golden
Draft maps for New York state Assembly districts have been approved by the Independent Redistricting Commission and will be sent to the Legislature. (Vaughn Golden/WSKG)

New York’s beleaguered redistricting commission took a step forward in developing a bipartisan consensus on new Assembly maps Thursday.

New York’s Independent Redistricting Commission, for the first time in its existence, fulfilled its mission and voted to send a map for new Assembly districts to the Legislature for approval.

The panel deadlocked on approving maps in 2021, leading the Legislature to draw its own lines. After a series of lawsuits, Congressional and state Senate maps were redrawn by a court, but the Assembly maps were returned to the redistricting commission to revise.

The commission’s chairman, Ken Jenkins, was one of several commissioners who praised the process actually working this time around.

"This vote is ultimately a victory for the commission process and for the democratic, small 'D' participation in the state of New York,” Jenkins said.

His Republican counterpart, Commissioner Charles Nesbitt offered a similar assessment.

"Many precedents have been set and developed as we have gone through this process, none of them more important than the one that we set today as we deliver a single map to the Legislature for its consideration,” Nesbitt said.

The maps transmitted to the Legislature don’t deviate much from the one’s currently in place.

Steven Romalewski, a researcher at the Center for Urban Research at the City University of New York Graduate Center, analyzed the new maps shortly after their release and noted that at least two-thirds of the districts are about 99 percent the same as the current ones.

The maps must now be approved by both houses of the state Legislature and the governor before going into effect for 2024.

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.