PoliticsThe Examiner

State Assembly’s New Voting Map Keeps Local Districts the Same

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New York State’s Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) approved a map last week of Assembly districts that will be used for the 2024 election and over the next decade if approved by the state legislature.

The bipartisan 10-member IRC was established three years ago and has since been unable to agree to new district lines leading to a host of legal battles fought in state courts. Finally, an appointment was made by a Steuben County judge of a “special master” to draw up congressional and state Senate maps, which ultimately determined the districts for elections last fall.

While officials and residents in some areas throughout the state were concerned that districts could radically change, there were few changes made to the statewide Assembly configuration.

In the IRC’s newly-approved map, the 93rd district of Assemblyman Chris Burdick (D-Bedford), which appeared at one point that it could be revised, remains unchanged. The district includes North Salem, Lewisboro, Pound Ridge, Bedford, Mount Kisco, New Castle, North Castle, Harrison and a portion of White Plains.

Burdick said he saw support to keep his district intact at the public hearings held last year to solicit community feedback.

“There was testimony submitted by the town boards of New Castle and North Salem where they asserted that they felt there was great community interest in remaining within the 93rd Assembly District rather than any proposed reconfiguration,” Burdick said

Burdick said that a draft plan issued by the IRC last December proposed some significant changes that would have removed those two towns from the district and giving him most of White Plains.

The map approved by the IRC last week will now be submitted to the legislature.

Assemblyman Matt Slater (R-Yorktown) also saw no changes in his 94th district, which includes Yorktown, Somers and portions of Putnam County. Slater also attributes the decision by the commission to maintain the status quo to supportive statements made at the public hearings.

“Quite a few people testified at the public hearings with the IRC in Westchester and Putnam saying they appreciated my advocacy and wanted me to remain as their representative in the Assembly,” Slater said. “I’m excited to continue to represent them and continue the redistricting process.”

The IRC’s draft Assembly map was made available to the public as the commission held 12 in-person hearings across the state last year.

“At those hearings, we received testimony from over 300 speakers, and through our website and other means, we received over 3,000 written submissions,” IRC Democratic Chair Ken Jenkins said at last week’s meeting before the commission voted to approve the Assembly map.

The IRC cover letter accompanying the map explained the districts were drawn to “contain substantially equal populations, to consist of contiguous territory so no district shall have the purpose of, nor result in, the denial or abridgement of racial or language minority voting rights and that no district was drawn to discourage competition or for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring incumbents or other candidates or political parties.”

Slater said he hopes last week’s Assembly map approval by the IRC indicates a positive move forward in the redistricting process.

“I hope the process sticks,” he said. “New York has not done a very good job in redistricting considering how many times they had to go back and do it over. Redistricting on the federal level was politically motivated and took away from proper representation.”

If the legislature approves the map, which must receive support by a two-thirds supermajority, it will then be sent to Gov. Kathy Hochul for her to sign into law.

All state legislature seats will be up for re-election in 2024.

An interactive view of the proposed map can viewed at https://www.nyirc.gov/assembly-plan-2023.

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