ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)– A hearing was held in Steuben County on Friday as people voiced their concerns over redistricting. This comes after the Court of Appeals deemed the Congressional and State Senate maps drawn by the legislature unconstitutional.
“So many people wanted to provide public comment to the Special Master and the court,” explained Steven Romalewski, Director of Mapping Service Center for Urban Research at The Graduate Center of CUNY. “And some of them traveled pretty far to make it up to Steuben County to talk in person about their concerns about the maps, and what the maps should look like, and what it means to their communities, so that was really impressive.”
Special master, Dr. Jonathan Cervas, a Postdoctoral Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University was appointed by the court to draw new Congressional and Senate redistricting maps after the ones created by the New York State Legislature were deemed unconstitutional by the Court of Appeals.
During Friday’s hearing, it was announced that over 150 maps were submitted. It was also announced that Cervas was provided documents from the Independent Redistricting Commission that was originally tasked with creating the maps.
Many speakers, including the Empire Center’s, Cam Macdonald, were advocating for their submitted maps to be reviewed.
“I had the benefit of representing Empire Center’s maps to the Judge and the Special Master after a bunch of people had spoken and raised their concerns,” explained Macdonald, an Adjunct Fellow at Empire Center for Public Policy. “And [I] was able to highlight to both of them how non-partisan drawn maps done, according to the rules in the state constitution, actually result in maps that meet a lot of people’s concerns and keeping communities together and that sort of thing.”
Lawyers representing the New York State Legislature and the petitioners also spoke at the hearing making their final presentations. Former Congressman, John Faso, explained the next steps in the process.
“The special master has to deliver preliminary maps 10 days from now on May 16th, and then there will be an opportunity on May 18th to either contest or agree with what the special master has suggested, “stated Faso. “And then May 20th is when the court will issue the final maps for the state Senate and for Congress.”
An additional primary will be held in August.