A Republican-led group of voters sued over New York’s new congressional map on Thursday, The New York Times reports.
The New York legislature aggressively redrew district lines to gain an advantage, potentially swinging three additional congressional seats to the party.
Democrats rejected arguments that they gerrymandered the map, arguing that the state is overwhelmingly Democratic and people are increasingly moving from rural areas to metro areas that are largely blue.
But a three-seat swing would be the biggest shift in any state this cycle.
New York voters in 2014 voted to create a bipartisan redistricting commission but the panel deadlocked, kicking the power to redraw lines to the legislature, where Democrats hold supermajorities.
The legislature did not hold any public hearings and passed the maps down party lines on Tuesday.
“We are 100 percent confident that the lines are in compliance with all legal requirements,” a spokesman for Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic majority leader in the State Senate, told the Times. “They are a gigantic step forward for fairer representation and reflect the strength and diversity of New York like never before”
A group of 14 voters filed a 67-page lawsuit on Thursday arguing that the new map violates the 2014 amendment’s protections against partisan gerrymandering.
The suit says Democrats “brazenly enacted a congressional map that is undeniably politically gerrymandered in their party’s favor.”
“This court should reject it as a matter of substance, as the map is an obviously unconstitutional partisan and incumbent-protection gerrymander,” the suit says.
The lawsuit could face an uphill battle since state courts rarely reject maps by state lawmakers but the complaint was filed in a Republican stronghold where judges may be more sympathetic to the plaintiff’s arguments.
“The question is whether the court will reject 50 years of precedent and reject the plan,” Jeffrey Wice, a senior fellow at New York Law School’s Census and Redistricting Institute, told the Times.
A court could uphold or reject the maps and order Democrats to redraw them. The court could also appoint a third party to redraw the maps.
Democrats dismissed Republican complaints about the maps.
“Republicans threatened to sue long before the lines were even proposed,” said Michael Whyland, a spokesman for Carl E. Heastie, the Assembly speaker. “We are confident the maps will withstand any court challenge.”