By MARINA VILLENEUVE
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A New York judge ordered Friday that the state’s congressional and state Senate primaries be delayed until Aug. 23 to provide enough time to replace district maps that were ruled unconstitutional this week.
State Judge Patrick McAllister moved the primaries back from their original date of June 28. He said the independent expert he tasked with helping him craft new maps, special master Jonathan Cervas, will finish drawing districts by May 20.
New York is set to separately hold gubernatorial and state Assembly primaries in June, unless lawmakers or Gov. Kathy Hochul decide to delay. New York once held congressional and state office primaries on separate dates, but lawmakers in 2019 consolidated them to save money, increase voter turnout and make the process less confusing for the public.
On Wednesday, New York’s highest court rejected new congressional and state senate maps that had widely been seen as favoring Democrats. The majority decision largely agreed with Republican voters who argued the district boundaries were unconstitutionally gerrymandered.
The ruling also dashed Democrats’ national redistricting hopes, which leaned heavily on their ability to gerrymander New York state to maximize the number of seats they could win in the U.S. House of Representatives.
A state board of elections spokesperson said Thursday the state had asked the U.S. Justice Department if a federal court might need to review any change to the date of the primary. The spokesperson said Friday they were still looking into whether a review will be required.