SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Democrats in the Onondaga County Legislature filed a lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court over the legality of the new election districts signed by the County Executive in December.
The lawsuit argues the new voting maps violate state rules requiring districts to be compact and adjacent to one another and to keep metro areas and communities of interest intact.
It also comes months after the controversial redistricting process last fall, which sparked accusations of political and racial gerrymandering. Republicans passed the maps by a narrow vote of 9-8 December 21st with the county executive signing them about a week later.
Onondaga County Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny said that the actual passing of the bill was done hastily and illegally.
“They made the illegal decision to have the county legislature draw their own maps and pass their own maps,” Czarny said. “Which are also illegal.”
“The redistricting commission known as the reapportionment commission took only three weeks from inception to finish, to vote on maps,” he added.
One of the main arguments by Democrats has focused on District 16 in Syracuse, which was once the only majority-black district in the legislature. The new map now changes the district from 59% to 48% black voters.
“When you look at the districts and the way they shape them out specifically the 16th,” Helen Hudson, Syracuse Common Council President, said. “The way they gerrymandered that district, it will drum up the voting block for the black community.”