The New York State Court of Appeals said the three maps violated the state's Constitution by creating political bias. File Photo by jensjunge/Pixabay
April 27 (UPI) -- New York's top court tossed the state's redistricting map Wednesday, accusing Democrats of gerrymandering before the midterm elections.
The New York State Court of Appeals said the three maps violated the state's Constitution by creating political bias. The maps were "procedurally unconstitutional, and the congressional map is also substantively unconstitutional as drawn with impermissible partisan purpose," the court said.
Petitioners argued the Democratic-controlled legislature's decision to draw its own maps, when the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission failed to reach agreement, was unconstitutional.
New York voters introduced anti-gerrymandering reforms in 2014 and created the bipartisan commission to draw redistricting maps. Last week, a five-judge panel found "evidence of the largely one-party process used to enact the 2022 congressional map met petitioners' burden of establishing that the 2022 congressional map was drawn to discourage competition and favor Democrats."
Wednesday's 4-3 vote invalidates the redrawn boundaries, which would have given Democrats three additional seats in the U.S. House. Democratic lawmakers defended their solution to the commission's failure, arguing the maps were drawn to protect minority voting rights.
With no more appeals and time running out, the court ordered the adoption of a neutral map by an outside expert. The court also recommended the state's June 28 primary be moved to August.
"We are confident that, in consultation with the Board of Elections, Supreme Court can swiftly develop a schedule to facilitate an August primary election, allowing time for the adoption of new constitutional maps," the court said.