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The Art of Redistricting: A Comedy of Errors

Hey there Folks!
Melvin P. Atwater here and you’re not gonna believe the big old Bag of BS I have for you today!
I’m sure a few of you will call BS on it, but it’s on the internet so it must be real! Quantum Universe and all, you know. Maybe not here and maybe not now, but somewhere, somehow.
The logic is infallible!
-Sincerely,
Melvin P. Atwater

Welcome to the circus, folks! The main act? New York’s new congressional plan, a whirlwind of backroom negotiations, gamesmanship, and a dash of absurdity. The plan, which is headed for a vote in the state Legislature, is a comedy of errors that could only be scripted in the world of politics.

The Independent Redistricting Commission has proposed new Congressional maps, and they’re about as clear as mud. If the Legislature votes down these maps, they can draw their own. But here’s the kicker: a statute proposed by ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2012 limits how much legislators can change the lines. Each district can only differ by 2 percent from the ones drawn by the commission. So, if there are 777,000 people in a congressional district, 761,000 of them would need to be the same in any plan drawn by the Legislature. Talk about a tight leash!

But wait, there’s more! If the commission’s maps need to be approved by supermajorities in each chamber, then we’re looking at 42 of 63 members in the Senate and 100 of 150 in the Assembly. Two Democrats in the Senate have already said they’re voting no. So, without some GOP support, there’s no path to getting the lines approved. It’s like a game of political Twister, and everyone’s getting tangled.

And what happens if the lines are simply voted down? Well, the 2012 amendment isn’t terribly clear. It’s possible that the Legislature’s own map could be passed on a simple majority. So, there’s a scenario in which the commission’s maps receive 40 votes in the Senate and are thus voted down. And if the razor-thin supermajorities aren’t able to cohere around an alternative, a Democratic-drawn plan could then pass with only 32 votes. It’s like a political version of ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ where the rules are made up, and the points don’t matter.

At that point, it would be safe to assume the vagaries in the constitution would be clarified by the courts when the vote count becomes the basis for a new GOP lawsuit. It’s a comedy of errors, folks, and we’re all just along for the ride. So, grab your popcorn and enjoy the show. It’s sure to be a wild one!

For more on this story, check out the full article here.

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