NEW YORK (PIX11) — New York Republicans and Democrats are locked in a battle that could define state policy for the next decade.
Every 10 years, the state Legislature is required to redraw congressional district lines to account for population changes, and one New York City district has seen a big change.
The 11th Congressional District, a seat held by Republican Nicole Malliotakis that includes Staten Island and a sliver of Brooklyn, was expanded to include more Democratic areas of Brooklyn. Malliotakis on Sunday joined PIX on Politics host Dan Mannarino to discuss what she called “political gerrymandering” by Democrats.
“It’s clearly gerrymandering because you can tell how they completely shifted the district,” she said. “Instead of just adding the necessary population gain to my existing district, they’ve chosen to take away the voice of the people I currently represent by shifting this district.”
The lawmaker cited a 2014 state constitutional amendment that no longer allows political gerrymandering. Malliotakis also pointed out New Yorkers voted in November in favor of a referendum on non-partisan redistricting.
“They can’t draw the lines to benefit a particular party or a particular candidate,” she said of Democrats. “What they’ve done here, the state Legislature, is really ignore the will of the people and that’s very unfortunate.”
A legal battle over the alleged gerrymandering began this week when a group of voters in Republican-friendly communities filed a lawsuit in state court to block the new congressional maps. The group of 14 New Yorkers filed the lawsuit Thursday in state court in Steuben County against Gov. Kathy Hochul, top Democratic lawmakers, the state Board of Elections and a state redistricting task force that failed to agree on a non-partisan map.
Hochul on Thursday approved the new congressional and state legislative maps passed largely along party lines by the Legislature earlier this week. The voters in their lawsuit asked the state court to declare New York’s congressional map invalid, and either send the maps back to lawmakers or have the court draw up its own map.
Malliotakis is looking to keep her seat in this year’s midterm elections. Democrat Max Rose, who Malliotakis ousted in 2020, is hoping to win the district back.
Malliotakis said if the lines stay where Democrats want them, she will be more than happy to represent the new areas of Brooklyn. However, she added that her concern is more about, “politicians in Albany looking to take away the voices of the people.”