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December 12, 2023

New York, N.Y. (December 12, 2023) – Citizens Union releases the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum after the State of New York Court of Appeals ordered that Congressional district maps be redrawn by the Independent Redistricting Commission:

“Today’s ruling is the latest step in what has been a lengthy and chaotic redistricting process. Commissioners on the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) failed to work together to fulfill their obligations under the state constitution. Their inaction allowed lawmakers to gerrymander legislative districts, with those maps eventually thrown out and redrawn by the courts.”

“From this point forward, it is imperative that the IRC collaborate to avoid gridlock and submit one map to the legislature, agreed upon by both sides. Given the public’s lack of faith in the redistricting process, IRC commissioners must do everything in their power to conduct an open and transparent map-making process. That includes holding mapping deliberations in public and providing the public with a detailed explanation of how and why the new congressional lines are drawn. Holding mapping deliberations in public clarifies mapmakers’ intentions, prompts healthy dialogue between commissioners, and reduces the potential power of outside influences on the process. The New York City Districting Commission held successful public mapping sessions. Although apparently not required by the court ruling, we also strongly encourage the IRC to hold public hearings to solicit feedback.”

“Albany lawmakers must refrain from repeating the mistakes of 2022 by creating another gerrymandered map. The Court of Appeals has clearly stated that it could deploy judicial oversight over the next set of maps to remedy a violation of the law.”

“This mess has highlighted the flaws in our redistricting process. Citizens Union is working with other good government groups to develop a more efficient, independent process designed to remove partisanship from redistricting.”


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