New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has asked state Attorney General Letitia James to review legal options after the state came just 89 residents short of maintaining all of its congressional districts in the 2020 US Census Bureau count.
A Democratic stronghold in Congress, the state is set to lose one of its seats in the US House of Representatives ahead of the 2022 midterm elections and an Electoral College vote as a result of the agency’s count.
“Census takers in New York faced unprecedented challenges last year in their efforts to get New Yorkers counted — from the pandemic’s effect on the mail system to the Trump Administration’s xenophobic, flagrant, and illegal efforts to hurt blue states by discouraging non-citizens and people of color from being counted,” Cuomo, a Democrat, said in a statement.
“And despite a growing state population, New York State’s congressional delegation will lose a seat in the House of Representatives next year, having fallen an equally unprecedented 89 responses short of continuity. So much of our state’s recovery, revitalization, and resilience is dependent on having our voice heard in Washington, and we won’t allow Trump and his cronies to use one of our greatest attributes — our diversity — as an impediment,” the Democratic governor continued.
“I’m calling on the Attorney General to review all legal options available to ensure the voice of every New Yorker is fairly and wholly represented in the halls of Congress.”
New York joins California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia in losing a congressional seat — though the Empire State had by far the slimmest margin.
Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon will each gain one seat in Congress, and Texas will get two.
The shift in congressional seats, which the Census Bureau announced Monday, could shuffle the political makeup of Congress and set up what will likely be contentious redistricting battles in the coming months. The results underscore the power of the Census Bureau’s massive once-a-decade effort to count the US population.
Census officials said Monday that they were “very confident in the quality of the data” they had collected.
“While no Census is perfect, we are confident that today’s 2020 Census results meet our high data quality standards. We would not be releasing them to you otherwise,” acting Director Ron Jarmin said.