For the second time in three years, Albany Democrats are poised to draw new Congressional maps, having once again rejected those drawn by the Independent Redistricting Commission — the latest twist in a drawn-out political saga.

What You Need To Know

  • Maps drawn by Democrats in 2022 were thrown out by the state Court of Appeals, which found they violated a ban on partisan gerrymandering

  • After maps were drawn by a court-appointed special master, Republicans flipped four seats in New York and won control of the House of Representatives

  • The Court of Appeals in December ordered a new set of maps be drawn for the 2024 elections, creating a second opportunity for Democrats

“This is just unprecedented, unscripted, unpredictable,” said Jeffrey Wice, a professor at New York Law School and an expert on the state’s redistricting process.

The stakes are enormous: Districts tailor-made for Democrats could help the party flip several seats and win back control of the House of Representatives.

But when Democrats tried to skew the maps in their favor two years ago, Republicans sued and won. The state Court of Appeals found Democrats violated a constitutional ban on partisan gerrymandering.

So the maps were drawn by a court-appointed special master instead. That fall, Republicans gained four seats in New York, helping them win control of the House.

But the next round went to Democrats when the Court of Appeals in December ordered that another set of maps be drawn in time for the 2024 elections, giving the Democrats who control Albany a second bite at the apple.

“The national party is looking to New York to help win back a majority in the U.S. House,” Wice said. “And if that happens, you open the door to the Republicans going back to court and challenging the map all over again, which just leads to possibly more uncertainty this year into the future.”

Maps approved by the bipartisan Independent Redistricting Commission earlier this month made only modest changes to the existing map. But Albany Democrats have the power to effectively overrule the commission, so they are again taking matters into their own hands.

With an election less than four months away, they have to work fast.

“We’re looking now at a June 25 primary,” Wice said, “but with more delay and uncertainty, we could see a primary for Congress in August or September, similar to what happened two years ago.”