NEW YORK — Finger-pointing marked the end of a once hopeful attempt to redraw New York’s state and federal electoral lines.
In the final meeting of the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission on Monday, there was a sniping back-and-forth between the five Democratic members and five Republican members over Zoom.
It concluded with the commission recommending two maps to the state Legislature: Plan A, drafted by Democrats; and Plan B, drafted by Republicans.
By law, New York’s Assembly and Senate — overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats — will now take over the process. To what extent Democratic state leaders will follow the suggested maps remains unknown.
“At the end of the day this is deeply disappointing to everyone, we wanted to have bipartisan agreement,” David Imamura, the independent redistricting chair.
There are similarities in the proposals, especially in New York City. However, key differences emerged around rebuilding competitive districts on Long Island and areas north of the city.
Even in the five boroughs, there was a lot of disagreement about what parts of South Brooklyn to include to round out NY-11, the district that encompasses all of Staten Island.
Democrats in the state legislature will now control the process. They may come under external pressure to gerrymander, or create political as friendly to themselves as possible.
Republican controlled legislatures have done this in places, such as in Ohio and Texas.
State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris of Queens said by law, both maps would get a vote. The commission might have another chance to compromise if neither proposal is accepted. Gianaris said the goal would be to get everything wrapped up as quickly as possible to set up smooth elections at both the state and federal level this year.
He said that would mean voting on new maps, likely drawn by the Democratic majority if the commission continues to fail to compromise, in February.