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Democrats tried to redraw Suffolk district lines before losing power. A court has blocked them

Courtesy of the Suffolk County Legislature

A Suffolk County Judge blocked Democrats in the Legislature from drawing decennial redistricting maps instead of a bipartisan redistricting commissions.

Democrats are poised to lose control of the Suffolk County Legislature come January 1. They had hoped to draw new district boundaries before then.

However, the county charter requires that a bipartisan commission be given a chance to draw them first. That commission has not yet been fully seated. According to Democrats, that’s why they pushed redrawing the maps on their own.

Their maps would have consolidated four largely Republican districts and increased the number of districts where Black and Latino residents are the majority.

Republicans asked the court to intervene, and both the court and the county attorney for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, a Democrat, agreed with Republicans.

Democrats said the ruling sets a dangerous precedent and that they will appeal.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.