ITHACA, N.Y.—New York State’s Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) unanimously approved the release of a draft map for the state’s assembly districts on Thursday, bringing New York’s tumultuous redistricting process one step closer to completion.

There’s little change to speak of for the 125th District, which Tompkins County remains wholly preserved in, along with the Town of Cortlandville and the City of Cortland. The draft district even retains the same number as the current district, and still leans rather heavily to the left. President Joe Biden would have won the district handily in the 2020 election. Assemblymember Anna Kelles ran unchallenged to win a second term representing the 125th District in the state legislature. 

The only geographic changes to the draft district is the removal of the south-western chunk of Cortland County, which includes the towns of Harford, Virgil, and Lapeer. 

On the left, the draft 125th Assembly district released by the Independent Redistricting Commission on Thursday. On the right, the current 125th Assembly district. Credit: CUNY Mapping Service at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center

After the 10 member IRC gridlocked along partisan lines between two sets of of congressional, state Senate, and Assembly district maps, the redistricting process was handed over to the state legislature in January. 

Governor Kathy Hochul would sign these districts into effect, but \New York state’s highest court would rule the state’s congressional and state Senate maps drawn by the Democrat controlled state Legislature unconstitutionally gerrymandered in April. 

New congressional and state senate districts were drawn by a supervised “Special Master,” which became the districts candidates ran to represent in the summer season’s harried primary elections, but the assembly districts were left out of this process. 

The state Legislature’s assembly districts were also ruled unconstitutional, but in a separate decision from the one related to the state Senate and congressional districts. The assembly maps remained in place for the 2022 election in order to mitigate any additional disruption to the already confused election cycle, and in September a judge ordered the IRC to take another stab at drawing and compromising on a single set of assembly districts. Thus the draft that New York state has before it now. 

The IRC is going to conduct a series of public hearings to gather input on their proposal before presenting a final map to the state legislature by April 28. The closest hearings to the Ithaca and Cortland areas will be on Jan. 9 in Buffalo, Jan 10. In Rochester, and Jan 24, in Syracuse.

Jimmy Jordan

Jimmy Jordan is a general assignment reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact him at Connect with him on Twitter @jmmy_jrdn