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Federal Judges Officially Approve Redrawn State Congressional Districts

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A three-judge panel in Brooklyn federal court has approved a map for New York's new congressional districts that a federal magistrate proposed earlier this month.

Due to population changes around the country, New York is set to lose two members of Congress this year, going from 29 seats in the House of Representatives to 27.

Albany lawmakers had been unable to agree on which two seats would be eliminated, so the case went to the courts.

The map drawn by federal magistrate Roanne Mann keeps most of the current districts, but the district of Congressman Bob Turner, who won his seat in a special election last fall, has been eliminated and absorbed into several other districts.

Turner has announced that he will seek the Republican nomination to run against junior Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Another change is the 6th Congressional District in Queens, which now represents a population that is almost 40 percent Asian-American.

In that district, Assemblywoman Grace Meng received on Monday the support of Queens Democratic leaders to fill that seat.

She is facing several other elected officials in the Democratic primary in June, including Assemblyman Rory Lancman, who announced his candidacy on Monday.

The courts took over the congressional redistricting process because of inaction from Albany, which good-government advocates approved.

Republicans in the State Senate are complaining that the court’s plan did not consider incumbency, while some minority lawmakers say the new lines are discriminatory and are unfairly dividing neighborhoods.

Starting on Tuesday, congressional candidates can begin gathering petition signatures to get on the ballot. Primary elections for the districts will be held on June 26.

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