Chautauqua County Board Of Elections Discuss Redistricting Impacts

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ALBANY – After a New York Court rejected Congressional maps drawn by Democrats, many are left wondering how the state will move forward with the quickly approaching June primary. 

WNY News Now spoke with both the Republican and Democratic Board of Elections Commissioners for Chautauqua County, Brian Abram and Luz Torres, to see how the rest of the election season will play out.

“Right now, the June primary is on. It would be handling everything other than the Congressional lines and the New York State Senate lines. If that’s the case, we would have to go forward, and they’re talking August for the potential primary of a Congressional District primary along with the New York State Senate position primary,” says Abram.

Abram explains that if a candidate running for office is once again redistricted when the finalized maps are approved, their work is considered null and void.

“What the guidelines are going to be, what the requirements are gonna be, is anyone’s guess,” says Abram. “But they need to figure it out quickly because as things move forward there’s deadlines, there’s overseas voters, there’s the military voters and things of that nature we have federal laws that state you have to get a ballot out 45 days in advance. So the compliance becomes sort of intertwined if you will.”

As of now, how a candidate would go about getting their name on a ballot after new lines are drawn, the date of a potential second primary, or if they will pause the June primary, is unknown.

With early voting, election officials say there is more time for preparation, however if the primary is moved, the BOE will only have two months to make changes with limited poll workers.

“If we do have two primaries and whomever is affected by the second primary, they would get a second announcement saying, ‘oh by the way.’ Because we’ve already sent out the first card, you probably already received one, stating a primary,” says Abram.

Senator George Borrello, an outspoken advocate against the gerrymandered maps, says this court ruling is a huge win for those who believe in the Constitution.

“This was the highest court in New York State. The New York State Court of Appeals. And that court is all Democrats, all Democratic appointees,” explained Borrello. “And they said, unequivocally, that these maps were gerrymandered. As did many liberal good government groups like the League of Women Voters and Common Cause and many others. So yesterday’s victory is significant, and what it says is that this now will go to a judge who will have a special map drawer essentially that will determine what these new districts will be.”

Now, the maps will be drawn by a State Supreme Court judge and an independent political map maker from Pittsburgh, in the hopes that an outside perspective will allow the maps to be fair.

While this is happening, the Senator hopes the primary election in June will be delayed.

“I hope it goes to August. I hope we have a process that gives us the time for people to analyze the candidates,” says Borrello. “Even in a primary, even if they have no Republican in, and there’s situations in other parts of the state up here where there’s no Democrat. But people should have the time, they should have the time to look at even the primary candidates and not have to make a rushed decision.”


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