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Higher court allows Suffolk Democrats to redraw county legislative districts — for now

Suffolk County Legislature
Suffolk County Legislature

A New York appellate court judge allowed Suffolk County Democrats in the legislature to redraw decennial redistricting maps instead of a bipartisan redistricting commission. The decision will likely be challenged in the New Year when Republicans hold the legislative majority.

Democrats want to redraw county legislative districts on Friday, the last night the party has control of the Suffolk County Legislature. Earlier this week, a county judge halted the process after Republicans sued.

On appeal, Democrats were allowed to vote on the new maps. However, a final decision on the matter will be argued in court next year.

According to the county charter, a bipartisan redistricting commission is supposed to redraw the maps. That commission was never fully seated. Democrats say that’s why they pushed redrawing the maps on their own.

Their maps would consolidate four largely Republican districts and increase the number of districts where Black and Latino residents are the majority.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has not yet said if he will sign-off on the new districts.

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.