Noting that Congressional primaries are scheduled for June, the judge, Dora L. Irizarry of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, said it was time for the federal courts to take charge of ensuring that New York has an election process that complies with state and federal law.
Judge Irizarry’s ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed in November by a group of civic leaders who asserted that the redistricting process for the state Assembly and Senate, as well as the state’s Congressional delegation, had stalled.
Complicating matters, a federal judge in Albany last month ordered the state to move up primary elections for Congressional seats to June from September in order to allow sufficient time for military voters to receive absentee ballots for the general election. The state’s legislative primary is currently scheduled for September.
In her ruling, Judge Irizarry noted, “in 1992 and 2002, the New York State Legislature acted only after there was judicial intervention.”
The plaintiffs’ lawyers, Richard Mancino and Daniel M. Burstein, described the ruling as “a major step forward” for their cause.
“We are gratified that the court recognized the danger legislative inaction poses to the fair conduct of New York’s elections and is taking steps to protect the voters of our state,” the lawyers said in a statement.
The legislative task force that drew up proposed redistricting maps for the State Senate and State Assembly is currently holding hearings across the state. Their proposed maps have been widely criticized by good-government groups and civil rights leaders, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has vowed to veto them. The task force has yet to release a proposal for the state’s Congressional districts. FULL POST