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New York State Court of Appeals hears redistricting case Wednesday

Rep. Brandon Williams (R-Sennett) speaks at a Stop NY Corruption press conference.
Ava Pukatch
Rep. Brandon Williams (R-Sennett) speaks at a Stop NY Corruption press conference.

The New York State Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Wednesday in Buffalo over the state's redistricting case, after a mid-level appellate court sided with Democrats in July in their attempt to overturn the state's congressional maps. Republicans appealed that to the state's highest court. The organization Stop NY Corruption garnered support for the appeal.

Stop NY Corruption said changing congressional maps makes it harder for representatives to represent their constituents and want the current maps in place until the 2030 census when the constitution says they are to be redrawn.

Republican Reps. Claudia Tenney and Brandon Williams have both been affected by changing Congressional maps. Tenney moved into the new 24th Congressional District but Williams has yet to move into the 22nd Congressional District. Williams has pointed to redistricting uncertainty when asked about moving into the district he represents.

"I like to say just in the last two years that even though I've never run for any office, I'm now in my third, almost fourth race for Congress in just 24 months," Williams said. That's how quickly the lines have changed. That's how this has distorted the process."

New York's current congressional districts were drawn by a court-appointed special master after Republicans said the way the state legislature drew them was unconstitutional. Democrats said the current maps were only supposed to be in place for the 2022 election and want the state's independent redistricting commission to get another crack at it for the 2024 election.

Former Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin fears there could be both intentional and unintentional mistakes if the Court of Appeals rules the maps need to be redrawn.

"It would be a disaster," Zeldin said. "It would be rushed and New Yorkers would end up not having their voice heard. There would be a lot of confusion. People won't know who their members of Congress are and it's likely that they wouldn't be able to get the maps done in time. And that rush job would end up resulting in whatever new maps they create getting tossed and who knows what's next."

Four New York Congressional Districts under current maps, including Williams', are considered toss-ups by Cook Political Report for the 2024 election.

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.