From today’s New York Times:
Democrats across the nation have spent years railing against partisan gerrymandering, particularly in Republican states — most recently trying to pass federal voting rights legislation in Washington to all but outlaw the practice.
But given the same opportunity for the first time in decades, Democratic lawmakers in New York adopted on Wednesday an aggressive reconfiguration of the state’s congressional districts that positions the party to flip three seats in the House this year, a greater shift than projected in any other state.
The new lines would shape races in New York for a decade to come, making Democrats the favorites in redrawn districts currently held by Republicans on Long Island, Staten Island and in Central New York. They would also help tighten the party’s hold on swing seats ahead of what is expected to be a strong Republican election cycle, all while eliminating a fourth Republican seat upstate altogether.
Legal and political experts immediately criticized the new district contours as a blatant and hypocritical partisan gerrymander. And Republicans, who were powerless to stop it legislatively in Albany, threatened to challenge the map in court under new anti-gerrymandering provisions in New York’s Constitution, though it was unclear if they could prove partisan intent.
Overall, the new map was expected to favor Democratic candidates in 22 of New York’s 26 congressional districts. Democrats currently control 19 seats in the state, compared with eight held by Republicans. New York is slated to lose one seat overall this year because of national population changes in the 2020 census.
“It’s a master class in how to draw an effective gerrymander,” said Michael Li, senior counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, which has also sounded alarms about attempts by Republicans to gerrymander and pass other restrictive voting laws.
Read the complete story here.