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NY Legislature to vote on new congressional maps

ALBANY (AP) — New York’s legislature is set to vote Wednesday on new congressional district maps that will expand Democrats’ influence in New York politics for years to come.

The proposed maps would give the party an advantage in 22 of of the state’s 26 congressional districts. Currently, Republicans hold eight of New York’s 27 seats in Congress.

Democratic leaders have defended the maps as addressing the reality of New York’s population shifts over the past decade: liberal New York City gained 629,000 people in the 2020 Census, while rural upstate areas home to many Republicans saw populations shrink and shift to cities.

The Legislature faces pressure to quickly pass maps, as candidates prepare for petition-gathering season launching March 1.

But the maps will mean reelection trouble for several Republican members of the U.S. House.

And New York’s maps have been cited as examples of unfair gerrymandering from non-partisan good government groups including state chapters of the League of Women Voters and Common Cause.

Brennan Center redistricting expert Michael Li called New York’s maps an example of an “aggressive” gerrymander” because of how many districts are biased toward Democrats.

Republicans say they’re considering legal action.

“New York Democrats are so drunk on their own power that they feel comfortable enough to brazenly undermine the will of the voters who twice voted to take map-drawing out of the hands of politicians,” GOP state chair Nick Langworthy said.

New York voters amended the state’s constitution in 2014 to ban partisan gerrymandering and set up a politically appointed commission to agree on new political maps. But the commission — as expected — failed to do so in January. That meant the Democratic-led Legislature could draw up its own maps.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press.

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