Potential U.S. Census Bureau delays may hamper New York’s redistricting process as the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission embarks on a complex procedure to redraw all state Senate and Assembly and U.S. congressional lines.
Redistricting in New York has been plagued by problems from the beginning. Last week, Census Bureau officials said they can’t complete state population totals and the allocation of congressional districts by the statutory Dec. 31 deadline, which is slightly more than four weeks away.
First and foremost, President Donald Trump’s attempt to block counting of certain American population groups, including Blacks and immigrants, set the Census Bureau’s project back weeks, if not months.
The Trump administration is clinging to its case. Oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court were expected to take place Monday against Trump’s July 2020 memorandum to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census.
COVID-19 pandemic concerns could add to the chaos of an already mighty task of assuring all New Yorkers are counted before the Redistricting Commission begins its work of redrawing the lines.
Not even redistricting experts can predict with any certainty if Congress will extend the deadline for data delivery. An extension likely would reduce the time allowed Congress to develop plans and the state commission may not receive data until summer.
The new state legislative and U.S. congressional lines are supposed to be in place for the 2022 elections. The state commission’s first maps must be publicized by Sept. 15, 2021.
People are counted in the census, all people. There are no exemptions, exceptions or special conditions for undocumented immigrants. With the state commission facing the possibility of delays to redraw all state Senate and Assembly districts and U.S. congressional districts, the members don’t need political meddling to make a tough task even tougher.