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Letter: Town of North Hempstead Redistricting Committee

(Editor’s note: this letter was sent to the Town of North Hempstead Board and to Anton Community Newspapers for publication.)

The League of Women Voters of Port Washington-Manhasset, the only League in the Town of North Hempstead, takes issue with the vote taken by the North Hempstead Town Board on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012 that created a redistricting committee made up only of appointees of the town’s nine-member council. The League has long-believed that redistricting should be decided by an independent commission that draws fair lines and is devoid of partisan gerrymandering.

The League takes this stand at every level of government. In its recent press release concerning LATFOR (the “legislatively-controlled” task force on demographic research and reapportionment), the New York State League of Women Voters voiced its extreme disappointment in this unfair practice. We strongly believe that competitive elections are the lifeblood of democracy and that by creating a committee made up only of appointees of each town council member, the town runs the risk of ensuring political incumbency of one party over another for years to come.

The Nassau County League has prepared a statement on Nassau County redistricting that will be delivered at the February 27 county legislature on February 27. A copy of this letter appeared in the Feb. 23 issue of Port Washington News. It lists the steps that need to be taken to ensure fair redistricting now and for our future for all levels of government.

The League is willing to work with the town in organizing a redistricting committee made up of independent members, including members of the public, to bring about lasting structural reform in the redistricting process.

Jane Thomas
League of Women Voters of Port Washington-Manhasset