The drawn-out redistricting battle in Albany has paved the way for election day chaos in New York City, critics warn. As legislators and the courts finally wrap up the bitter fight over how to carve up the state following the latest census count, the city’s already-strained Board of Elections has been struggling to make preparations while voting districts were still in flux. “I don’t think they will be ready,” said City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, who is planning to outline her concerns about the board’s ability to be adequately prepared for the races in a letter addressed to the state’s Board of Elections later this week. Brewer, who chairs the council’s Committee on Governmental Operations, said she has heard from staffers at the city board concerned about whether they’ll be ready for the petitioning process, which is set to kick off Tuesday, and then the state’s primaries, expected to take place June 26. “Nothing is clear. I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Brewer said.
The once-in-a-decade redistricting process has dragged out for months as legislators battled over how to to re-draw their district lines to reflect population changes tracked in the 2010 census count.
After threatening to veto any partisan lines, Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed to sign off on maps that largely benefit the parties that wrote them — the Republicans in the Senate and the Democrats in the Assembly — in exchange for a constitutional amendment intended to improve the process next time around. Congressional lines are still in the process of being finalized by the courts after lawmakers were deemed incapable of making a deal. But throughout the heated debates, the clock has been ticking.