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Independently Done Redistricting May Not Be Possible In NY

Republicans’ decision not to challenge redistricting maps passed last week and signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul is telling.

It says the state’s GOP realizes that the maps they will use in the November congressional election could have been a lot worse. Democrats made minor changes in the maps approved by the Independent Redistricting Commission to give them advantages in a handful of congressional races, but the changes don’t appear on their face to rise to the level of gerrymandering.

The end result is workable. The process to get there is not.

We tend to agree with Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, who in his comments on the Assembly floor last week waved goodbye to the Independent Redistricting Commission’s recommendations. It was, in our opinion, a fitting gesture for the Independent Redistricting Commission as a whole.

The Independent Redistricting Commission is an idea we wholeheartedly support, but after a decade in existence it’s obvious there will never be anything independent about redistricting. Between the commission’s composition that lends itself to the deadlocked commission we saw two years ago and the ability of the state Legislature to disregard the commission’s maps if party officials disagree with the maps.

The idea of an Independent Redistricting Commission doesn’t acknowledge a basic fact – redistricting is a political process. And as long as redistricting determines boundaries that decide control of Congress, the stakes will be high enough that the worthy ideals of independent redistricting will lose out to the political realities that one party will always be trying to secure an edge over the other party.

It’s been said history is written by the winners. So are congressional lines. And until the Republican Party starts winning a lot more elections, it will remain sidelined when congressional lines are written.

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