Friday, May 6, 2022

Calls For Public Input On New NY Political Maps

Community Activists and Lawmakers traveled to a Rural Courthouse Friday, in Western NY, to weigh in on the Shape of the NY's Political District Maps, and to ask a Judge for more Opportunities for the Public to be heard.

The State Judge overseeing the Redrawing of NY's Congressional and State Senate Districts, scheduled just One Public Hearing on the matter before the Maps are due to be Finalized May 20th.

Anyone who wanted to speak Publicly on the issue, could either file something with the Court in Writing, or appear in Person Friday, in Judge Patrick McAllister's Courtroom in Bath, New York, about 60 miles South of Rochester.

The Court is working on a tight timeline to get the Maps done after the NY's Highest Court ruled that previous Versions drawn by the Democrat-controlled Legislature were Unconstitutional.

Jonathan Cervas, a Postdoctoral Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University’s Institute for Politics and Strategy, faces a May 16th Deadline to release his First Draft of the Replacement Maps.

“We urge you to have more hearings, particularly after the map is released,” Esmeralda Simmons, Special Pro Bono Counsel to the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, said at Friday's Hearing. “We want you to know that New Yorkers deserve to be heard, and they are gonna wanna be heard.”

Earlier this week, McAllister declined Requests that he let People Testify at the Hearing Remotely, saying that his Court lacked the capability to allow large Numbers of People to do so. “Regrettably I am not able to provide a remote option that allows for everyone throughout the state to appear and comment,” the Judge wrote in a May 3rd letter to New York Civic Engagement Table Director Melody Lopez. “But, a person can appear and testify in person.”

The Judge said the Court will be reviewing Records from Hearings held by the NY's Independent Redistricting Commission last fall. That Commission's effort to Redraw Political District Boundaries, collapsed because of Partisan Gridlock. The Legislature then Passed its own Maps without any Public Input or Hearings, like the One held by the Judge Friday.

Angel Vasquez, a Democrat running for NY Senate in Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood, urged the Court to consider some of the Committee's Discarded Proposals.

The Court has Ordered the NY's Primary Elections for State Senate and the U.S. House, moved to Aug. 23rd, and the NY Assembly Primary on the originally planned Date on June 28th.

On Wednesday, former Candidate Gary Greenberg (D) filed a Lawsuit asking McAllister to Toss and Order New NY Assembly Maps, and delay Assembly Races until August 23rd, as well.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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