BINGHAMTON, NY – A lawsuit is being filed in New York State Supreme Court challenging the new legislative district maps that were recently adopted in Broome County.
A group calling itself Fair Maps for Broome says it is seeking to overturn the new district boundaries because they are unfair to voters.
The new map was passed by the Republican majority on a party-line vote back in January and then signed by Democratic County Executive Jason Garnar.
Fair Maps says the districts were designed to favor the Republican majority by stuffing larger populations into Democratic urban areas while allowing Republican rural areas to have the least allowable amount of population.
They also object to the Town of Maine being split up so that it could provide more GOP votes to portions of the Town of Union.
President of the group Matthew Johnson says you don’t need to be a lawyer to understand the lawsuit.
One note: I apologize for the video malfunction in the following sound bite.
“Residents of Broome County testified that it was an illegal map, and we had lawyers testify that it was an illegal map, and redistricting experts testify that it was an illegal map. And they adopted it anyway. That’s why Fair Maps for Broome is in the unfortunate position of having to sue our own county on behalf of these 6 plaintiffs. And we take no joy in that,” he said.
Throughout the process, Republicans on the legislature said that the map was not designed to favor any party nor any individual legislator and they worked to preserve pre-existing districts.
Fair Maps for Broome has raised 17 thousand dollars toward hiring local attorney John Perticone who is filing the suit.
Perticone says it is a separate process from the litigation that caused maps for New York’s Congressional and State Senate seats to be tossed out.
Nevertheless, Perticone says that if the judge invalidates the Broome map, any primaries would likely need to be postponed until August, as the Congressional and Senate races have, to allow for a new map to be drawn.