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Court begins redrawing process for Assembly district lines in 2024

Redistricting Lawsuit WEB

After an appellate court invalidated legislative lines for the New York Assembly districts last month, a lower court is moving forward with drawing new ones for 2024 elections. But the judge overseeing the matter hasn’t decided on an exact process for doing so.

In an order last week, Judge Laurence Love instructed the lawyers who brought the original case challenging the Assembly lines to provide briefs to the court on how to proceed with the process.

"One option available to the court is a special master like as was done in the other redistricting matter,” Aaron Foldenauer, an attorney for one of the petitioners in the case told WSKG.

A special master is a court-appointed redistricting expert. The state's highest court appointed one to redraw the maps for congressional and state Senate districts earlier this year, after it ruled maps drawn by the Legislature were unconstitutional.

“Or there are other options to the court and we'll be going through that in detail with the court in the next month or two," Foldenauer said.

In the same order, the judge cited a section of law suggesting the court may consider trying to revive the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC).

"The court does reference that section of law,” Foldenauer said. “It's a little too early to tell where it's going to land. I do see a lot of practical problems as far as trying to get the IRC together again. I'm not even sure that the commission can be forced to reconvene or to work."

The commission was established through a 2014 amendment to the state Constitution and is charged with redrawing the state’s legislative maps every 10 years. That panel deadlocked and dissolved earlier this year, and the task of redistricting ultimately fell to the court-appointed special master.

The judge is asking the attorneys to provide briefs to the court by Aug. 8. How the process will move forward from there is unclear.

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.