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Voting and civil rights groups call for transparency in NY congressional redistricting

Ava Pukatch

New York's congressional maps need to be redrawn after a State Court of Appeals ruled the maps used in the 2022 election cycle were temporary. Voting and civil rights groups are calling for transparency in the redistricting process.

The group is calling for three things: open meetings so the public can watch deliberations, conduct all mapping exercises and sessions in public and hold hybrid hearings across the state.

"The people who live in the congressional districts deserve a say on who will represent them," Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause New York, said. "Conducting business behind closed doors is simply unacceptable. Redistricting has to take place in the light of day."

Lerner said the hearings are especially important because the previous hearings on the redistricting cycle were two years ago.

"They were about a different set of circumstances where two years down the pike, things have definitely changed. And relying on comments of a that were directed to the old maps doesn't really give you much insight into what's needed in the current situation."

Melody Lopez, co-executive director of New York Civic Engagement Table, said the previous dysfunction of the redistricting process has resulted in confusion and mistrust from voters.

"This lack of transparency will only serve to further erode voters' trust in the process," Lopez said. "But it's not too late to make an effort to rebuild that trust by opening up the process and inviting communities to engage in a meaningful manner."

The state's independent redistricting commission will need to submit new maps to the legislature by Feb. 28.

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.