Wednesday is the last day for public comments on the newly drawn congressional and state Senate districts, but the proposed drafts have already sent the New York political world into a scramble.
The months-long journey through the decennial redistricting process has brought chaos, confusion and embarrassment for New York's political class. There was a failed effort toward bipartisan map-making, followed by an attempt by Democrats to draw their own districts. Those were scrapped by the state Court of Appeals and now, in the final stage, a court-appointed special master has submitted newly drawn district maps that will be finalized by Friday.
New Yorkers have an opportunity to weigh in on the process, but that ends Wednesday evening. Voters can make the case on why certain neighborhoods protected by the Voting Rights Act should stay together, something the special master appeared not to consider when he redrew the maps to be more contiguous.
The new maps released Monday have touched off a political scrum, pitting long-standing Democratic allies against one another and opening up new districts with no natural incumbent.
Special master Jonathan Cervas, a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, glommed Manhattan's Upper West Side together with the Upper East Side in his proposed map, forcing two stalwarts of New York political power – Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler – to run against one another.
In Brooklyn, a Bedford-Stuyvesant congressional district long-known as a bastion of Black political power first represented by Shirley Chisholm, has been sliced into two, potentially pushing Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke into competition.
Meanwhile, a brand new district that spans parts of Lower Manhattan, Downtown Brooklyn, Gowanus, Park Slope and Borough Park, has set of a frenzy among interested candidates including State Senator Brad Hoylman State Sen. Simcha Felder, Assemblymembers Robert Carroll and Jo Anne Simon and perhaps even former Mayor Bill de Blasio, according to a report from Politico.
The ongoing turmoil forced New York to push back its federal primary to August 23rd. The gubernatorial and state Assembly primary is still on June 28th.
You can provide feedback on the new districts by posting it in the NYSCEF system, emailing the court clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org or reaching out to the special master Cervas directly at email@example.com.
David Cruz contributed reporting.