New York

State website: Advisory Commission, State Senate
2010-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State Assembly  « NEW 
2000-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State Assembly
Primary governing law: N.Y. Const. art. III, §§ 4, 5; N.Y. Legis. Law § 83-m

The Latest

On December 1, a state trial court rejected a legal challenge to the 2010 law requiring that incarcerated persons be counted at their residential address prior to incarceration, for purposes of drawing state legislative districts; that decision has been appealed.

Congress: A lawsuit was filed, asking a court to draw lines in the face of legislative inaction; on Mar. 19, the court issued an order adopting final congressional maps.

State leg.: On January 26, the advisory commission proposed draft state legislative plans; on March 11, the maps were revised and passed on to the legislature. On March 15, the legislature passed S.6696/A.9525, which was signed by the governor on the same day. On March 21, it passed S.6755, technical corrections that were signed on March 27. The Senate plan was precleared on April 27; the Assembly plan was precleared on May 18. Both were challenged in court, but courts rejected those challenges. On April 13, a court also rejected a challenge to the legislature's formula in setting the size of the state Senate at 63 seats; that decision was affirmed on May 3.

On March 14, 2012, the legislature passed a constitutional amendment revising the redistricting process and criteria for 2020 and beyond (a companion statute with similar provisions was passed and signed the same day). The proposed amendment was again passed by the 2013 legislature, and then approved in a popular vote, 43%-32% (24% not voting), rendering the companion statute legally unnecessary.

The state constitutional amendment creates a 10-person commission, chosen largely by the legislative leaders, of individuals who are neither legislators/party chairs nor state employees, to hold hearings and (by supermajority vote) draft districts. Commission drafts will twice be subject to up/down votes before legislative revision (as in Washington, any revision could affect no more than 2% of the population of any district). Districts would have to preserve minority rights, be equally populated, and consist of compact and contiguous territory, and could not be drawn to discourage competition or to favor/disfavor candidates or parties.

  • Institution

    Redistricting political control:

    Governor State Senate State House
    Congressional lines D 30 D, 32 R 100 D, 48 R
    State legislative lines D 30 D, 32 R 100 D, 48 R
    2000 cong. lines R 25 D, 36 R 99 D, 51 R
    2000 state lines R 25 D, 36 R 99 D, 51 R

    Primary responsibility for New York's congressional and state legislative lines rests with the state legislature, subject to gubernatorial veto; district lines for the state Senate and state Assembly must be enacted by the same law. This process is aided by a 6-member advisory commission. The state Senate and Assembly majority leaders each choose one commissioner who is a member of the legislature and one who is not; the state Senate and Assembly minority leaders each choose one additional commissioner who is a member of the legislature. Current members are here. [N.Y. Legis. Law § 83-m]

    This commission recommends congressional and state legislative plans to the legislature, which may adopt, modify, or ignore the commission's proposals.

    New York state trial courts have jurisdiction to review challenges to state legislative lines filed in state court. [N.Y. Const. art. III, § 5]

  • Timing

    Census data were delivered to New York on March 24, 2011.

    New York state law does not impose a particular deadline for drawing congressional or state legislative lines, though candidates must file for congressional and state legislative primary elections by July 12, 2012. [N.Y. Elec. Law § 6-158(1)] The regular legislative session began on January 5, 2011, and ends January 4, 2012.

    The New York constitution prohibits redrawing lines mid-decade, before the next Census; there is no similar provision pertaining to congressional lines. [N.Y. Const. art. III, § 4]

  • Public input

    The advisory commission scheduled public hearings for the summer and fall, to get input from the general public. Archived video of past meetings is available here, with other meeting materials here.

  • Criteria

    Like all states, New York must comply with constitutional equal population requirements, and further requires that its state legislative districts be equally populated "as nearly as may be." Deviations will not be lawful if established for impermissible reasons. [N.Y. Const. art. III, §§ 4, 5; Rodriguez v. Pataki, 308 F.Supp.2d 346, 363 (2004), aff'd 543 U.S. 997; In re Orans, 15 N.Y.2d 339 (1965)]

    New York law requires that census data be adjusted for state legislative districts in order to count incarcerated individuals at their last known residence before incarceration, though some news reports have cast doubt on whether that law will be followed in the face of pending litigation. [N.Y. Legis. Law § 83-m(13), precleared on May 9, 2011]

    New York must also, like all states, abide by section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Because three New York counties (the Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), New York (Manhattan)) are considered "covered jurisdictions" under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, New York has an obligation to submit redistricting plans to the Department of Justice or to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to ensure that the plans do not discriminate against minority communities in those counties.

    New York law further requires that state legislative districts be contiguous and as compact "as practicable," and that they must account for the "historic and traditional significance of counties in the districting process . . . where and as far as possible." [N.Y. Const. art. III, §§ 4, 5; Rodriguez v. Pataki, 308 F.Supp.2d 346 (2004), aff'd 543 U.S. 997; Wolpoff v. Cuomo, 80 N.Y.2d 70 (1992); Schneider v. Rockefeller, 31 N.Y.2d 420 (1972); In re Orans, 15 N.Y.2d 339 (1965)]

  • 2010 cycle cases

    Due to the volume of filings, information on the New York cases is located on a separate litigation page, here.

  • 2000 cycle

    In the 2000 redistricting cycle, New York's legislature enacted a congressional plan, S.7536, which was signed on June 5, 2002, and precleared on June 25, 2002; it also enacted a state legislative plan, S.6796, which was signed on April 22, 2002 (amended by S.7300 on April 24, 2002), and precleared on June 17, 2002.

    The state Senate and congressional plans were challenged in federal court, and the state Senate plan was challenged in state court. Both plans were upheld. [Rodriguez v. Pataki, 308 F.Supp.2d 346 (2004), aff'd 543 U.S. 997; Allen v. Pataki, Case No. 101712-2002 (N.Y. Supreme Ct. May 9, 2002)]

  • Other state links

    Ed Koch's New York Uprising
    Common Cause's Citizens Redistricting Committee

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