SOUTHERN TIER, NY (WETM) – New York’s Independent Redistricting Commission could not come to an agreement on district maps. But, what seems like the only thing commissioners did agree on, was the Southern Tier.
The Independent Redistricting Commission, which was created to be bi-partisan, met virtually on Monday to approve one set of newly drawn maps to present to the state legislature. Yet they could not come to a consensus and instead, will be presenting two sets of maps, each drawn by the respective political party.
“There was such a push to put an independent redistricting commission in place to take the politics out of it, but it didn’t seem like this was really able to be successful,” said Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, R-132.
The acrimonious meeting consisted of panel Democrats and Republicans accusing each other of partisanship, ending in a 5-5 deadlock vote. However, what they did agree on, is what Southern Tier lawmakers were most concerned about: preserving the rural congressional district.
Both Democrats and Republicans of the commission presented congressional maps which include a Southern Tier district.
“That is something that I think is in the interest of everybody in the Southern Tier, a district that is of rural nature,” said Joe Sempolinski, Steuben County Republican Chairman.
Next week, the state legislature will either decide between the two sets of maps or throw both of them out entirely. If the latter happens, the Commission will have until the end of February to come to a consensus on these maps.
But, Sempolinski does not have high hopes for these maps from the commission.
“A lot of people are expecting…next week these maps will be very quickly thrown in the garbage,” said Sempolinski. “And I wouldn’t be shocked if what the commission produces in the next round, is [also] thrown in the garbage,” he added.
If the commission cannot come to a consensus, the process would then go back to the Democrat-controlled legislature, who would have the power to draw their own maps. In that case, which Sempolinski says is likely, Southern Tier lawmakers are back to their main concern.
“The question will be, if the maps get sent to the legislature, will the legislative majorities agree and continue to adhere to that thinking of preserving a Southern-Tier-based congressional district,” said Palmesano.