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Competing district maps rejected by state legislature

A purple and gray map of New York State congressional districts.
NYS Independent Redistricting Commission

State lawmakers in New York on Monday rejected two sets of maps that would’ve redrawn the state’s electoral districts for Congress and the state Legislature, setting the stage for those elected to potentially carve those lines themselves.

Lawmakers voted nearly unanimously to reject the maps, which were the result of a partisan divide among members of the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission.

That panel was tasked with creating new district lines in New York based on last year’s census results, but was able to reach a consensus. The commission’s partisan-appointed members were split down the middle.

Rather than negotiate a final set of district maps for approval by the Legislature, the commission decided to produce two sets of maps, and send both pairs to lawmakers for consideration.

While Democrats control the state Legislature, they overwhelmingly agreed to reject the maps proposed by the commission’s Democratic members as well. Both versions were voted down.

The maps will now go back to the commission, which will continue its work toward a set of maps that each of the panel’s members can agree on. That’s unlikely, given that the commission ceased negotiations in December.

If the commission fails to agree on a new set of maps to send to the Legislature for consideration, lawmakers will then take over the process.

That means that Democrats, who control both houses of the state Legislature, will effectively draw the state’s district lines for Congress, the State Senate, and the Assembly.

They’ll have to approve the new maps quickly. Petitioning for the primary in June is expected to start in March, leaving lawmakers with a tight deadline for approving new districts.