With the balance of the House at stake, national Democrats filed an 11-hour appeal in federal court on Monday to intervene in a heated dispute over redistricting. in New York, hoping to restore the map of the House of Representatives released last week by the state’s highest court.
In Complaint is 17 pages longThey argued that there simply wasn’t enough time to execute the order from the state Court of Appeals for the new county lines and still comply with a longstanding federal court order protecting Americans’ right to vote from abroad. .
Democrats are asking a panel of federal judges to exercise their authority to effectively block state courts from enforcing its decision and are instead asking New York to hold this year’s elections by the end of the year. June, as originally planned, on a map adopted by the Democratic-dominated Party. Legislature.
“The state has an obligation to redefine the area in a timely manner,” the complaint said. “Since it has failed to do so, this court must act.”
The unusual legal action, sponsored by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on behalf of five New York voters, is the last attempt by party leaders to salvage a series of political lines. could get their party to take up three new seats in the battle. to control the House.
The State Court of Appeals released the maps last week, ruling that Democratic leaders violated a 2014 amendment to the state Constitution, including a ban on partisan gerrymandering. In a far-reaching decision, the judges ordered a special court-appointed master to draw new lines instead and set the stage for the preliminary hearing to be delayed to August 23.
While it is not unheard of for federal courts to temporarily allow elections to take place on flawed maps for pragmatic reasons, it remains unclear that the Democrats’ arguments will prevail here.
Things to know about redistricting
For example, a federal judge may be convinced that there is enough time to draft new maps to meet state court this year under the revised primary calendar. Other states typically hold primaries at the end of the summer and may comply with overseas voting requirements.
Republicans said they were confident the state’s ruling would not be thwarted.
“It’s a Hail Mary and a sign of despair,” said John Faso, a former congressman who helped launch the Republican’s initial legal challenge. “The August 23 primary election fully complies with the requirements of federal military voter action.”
National Democratic Party leaders on Monday combined the lawsuit with a public campaign to publicly pressure state courts to change the process of drawing new county lines, in the event they fail to win elections. before the court.
Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, 5th House Democrat, criticized the judge overseeing the case for creating a process that made it difficult for black voters in his Brooklyn borough to have a say in the final maps. together.
The judge, Patrick F. McAllister, was command that anyone wishing to provide special employer input must appear in person at the courthouse in Bath, NY, on Friday.
Mr. Jeffries noted, in arguments that echo parts of the lawsuit, that it’s a five-hour drive from New York City and is virtually inaccessible by public transportation – an arrangement he calls “unacceptable.”
“The court must immediately schedule additional hearings in accessible locations throughout our state, including in New York City, Albany and Buffalo, before ruling on the counties. legislature and parliament by a suburban, unelected district,” he wrote to the judge.
The original lawsuit, filed against New York State Democratic Party leaders, was funded and overseen by Republicans in Albany and Washingtonand filed before Justice McAllister, a conservative Republican in Steuben County, NY
How the US regional redistricting works
National Democrats’ interference was based on a decade-old federal court order ordering New York to hold federal primaries on the fourth Tuesday of June in recent years. Elections are not secret. The courts made the order after New York violated several federal laws to ensure that ballots are sent to service members and voters abroad in a timely manner so they can be counted.
Since the state court’s ruling last week, New York has yet to seek the federal approval required to move that date. Democrats argue that the state cannot proceed without it, making Justice McAllister’s proposed timeline unenforceable at this time. They argue that a federal judge should restore the New York Democratic Party map to run this year’s election.
“Because this court had such a short window of time to execute such a plan – certainly not enough time to retain a special owner and make it its own – this court should approve the plan already approved by the court. Passed by the New York Legislature and signed by Governor Hochul,” the complaint reads.
Republicans, however, are likely to argue that New York should be able to win federal court approval to move the date officially. They argued in state court that a primaries in late August would leave enough time to draw up new maps and ensure that overseas ballots count.
The difference between a map drawn by Democrats and a map created by an exceptional master can be significant.
The maps released by the court last week would give Democratic candidates a clear advantage in 22 of the 26 House seats, compared with the 19 seats their party holds today and does. reduce the number of competing precincts in New York as a whole.
A redraw map approved by the courts would potentially increase the number of seats competing overall. So while Democrats could still win 22 or even 23 seats in a favorable political climate, they could be capped at 18 in 2022, when Republicans are on the way. nationwide benefits.
Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, Chairman of the DCCC, is likely to face a tougher re-election fight on his own in New York’s Hudson Valley according to the revised map.