Redistricting knocks voters and elected officials for a loop
Every ten years, electoral districts are remapped based on the latest census for a rebalance of power that affects competition in elections and parts of lawmaking. As the last redistricting took place in 2012, this year is due for a change.
Our new and approved congressional and Senate maps in New York State (NYS) were recently redrawn by Special Master Jonathan Cervas after the Court of Appeals ruled that Democrats had gerrymandered the initial draft. The new versions caused a few controversial changes for Democrats to say the least.
Congressional District 12 (CD12) has been redrawn to include all of Midtown and the Upper West and East Sides, and a sliver of North Brooklyn at the waterfront edge of Bushwick Inlet Park. This change has caused U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney and U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler to be two of many elected officials to vie for the same district in the upcoming primary. The new CD12 map just barely includes the border of Greenpoint along the East River and none of Williamsburg, which means no residences in North Brooklyn will be under CD12 for the next ten years.
Sophia Brown, spokesperson Maloney, said to Jewish Insider that the congresswoman, “works hard to represent all parts of her district, and looks forward to running a strong campaign focused on her progressive record and rooted in the communities she is proud to represent.”
The vast majority of Greenpoint, Bushwick, and Williamsburg, and parts of Queens will now be included in Congressional District 7 (CD7), currently represented by U.S. Representative Nydia Velázquez. On May 21, Velázquez stated that she is proud to be running in her current district, but still echoed similar criticisms made by U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries of Congressional District 8 (CD8) concerning the redistricted maps. CD8 new map has extended more into Williamsburg near Bedford–Stuyvesant.
Jeffries criticisms condemned two decisions: one to split up communities of color in Bedford–Stuyvesant and Crown Heights; and the other to combine his district and U.S. Representative Yvette Clark’s, another black representative, district into one. These two issues were corrected in the final map on the day before Velázquez made her statement.
“I have serious concerns over how this process of redistricting has played out,” Velázquez said in the statement. “New Yorkers deserve transparency, and while I am glad the special master incorporated certain public feedback into the final map, I still believe the maps fail to live up to the promise of the Voting Rights Act and protecting civil rights.”
According to Politico, the change in CD7 means the non-white population margin has decreased by five. Across New York State, the slight increase in competitive congressional districts gives the GOP a small boost despite the loss of a Republican district upstate.
As for our NYS Senate districts, NYS Senate District 18 (SD18), represented by NYS Senator Julia Salazar, grew in size which significantly decreased the voting age population of all people of color and increased that of the non-Hispanic white population.
“The Senate District lines along with the congressional district lines are an issue we should all take seriously. Every ten years we all come together as neighbors, as New Yorkers and as Americans to come up together to be counted. A count that is used to direct our legislative representation,” said Salazar. “I continue as the State Senator representing North Brooklyn and all our constituents regardless of political status, immigration status or voting registration. I’m here to ensure we keep that civic spirit alive.”
The area where Williamsburg meets Bedford–Stuyvesant is under NYS Senate District 25, represented by Jabari Brisport.
If you’re looking for Senate District 26 (SD26), you’ll have some trouble finding it in North Brooklyn. It has been moved to Manhattan, meaning Sen. Brian Kavanagh is no longer representing Greenpoint, and anyone in North Brooklyn who was covered in SD26 is now either in SD18 or NYS Senate District 59 (SD59).
SD59 covered an area in upstate New York near Buffalo and was represented by republican Patrick Gallivan before redistricting. The district can now be found right here in Greenpoint and some of Williamsburg; it also covers up to Astoria and a small part of Manhattan.
This change makes the new NYS Senate district population see almost a three percent increase in Biden’s vote share and an equal decrease in Trump’s vote share. But these are just in our neighborhoods. In the state, twelve highly competitive NYS Senate seats have been created.
The City reports: “In the state senate, a major reshuffling has scrambled plans for candidates and endangered many incumbents. In court records, Cervas said his new set of maps have created more political competition.”
NYS Assembly District 50 (AD50) represented by Assembly Member Emily Gallagher lost a small portion of her constituents in North Brooklyn to NYS Assembly District 53 (AD53), but gained a bigger portion elsewhere from AD53.
“While the redistricting process has been chaotic and confusing, I am relieved that Assembly District 50 has mostly remained intact. Our neighborhoods had some of the most dramatic population growth in the state since the last census in 2010, so in order to maintain the rough number of constituents per Assembly District, we’ll sadly be losing our friends who live near the Navy Yard in Clinton Hill but I’m excited to continue representing all of Greenpoint and almost all of Williamsburg should I be fortunate to win re-election to another term,” said Gallagher
AD53, represented by Assembly Member Maritza Davila, also had a small loss to NYS Assembly District 56 (AD 56), but gained some of NYS Assembly District 54 (AD54).
“As the Court mandated lines were redrawn I was disheartened to see some traditional communities of color were separated, which has a direct impact in representation at the state and federal level of government,” said Davila.
The Assembly map was not included in the first lawsuit against the congressional and NY Senate maps, so a separate bipartisan legal battle in whether or not the map is unconstitutional was taken to court on May 23.
As of this writing, the result of the hearing is still underway. It is estimated that NYS Supreme Court Justice Patrick McAllister will make his ruling on whether to approve or amend the NYS Assembly map on May 27.
All maps go into effect immediately, just in time for New York two primary elections. That’s right: two. One is set to be on June 28 for Assembly seats and the governor race, subject to change depending on the turnout in court, and the other on August 23 for congressional and NYS Senate districts.
To view a before-and-after of old maps and new maps, head to newyork.redistrictingandyou.org. You can also find out if you’ve been redistricted by entering your address in The City’s redistricting search at thecity.nyc.