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Letter: For Fair And Transparent Redistricting

In response to Susan Lerner’s opinion piece in Newsday on July 3, entitled “Voters Are The Losers In Nassau Fight,” The League of Women Voters of Nassau County believes in many of the same principles Ms Lerner proposes. As a nonpartisan organization, the league has repeatedly spoken before the county legislature and to the temporary advisory redistricting commission for a fairer and more transparent process for redistricting than is currently being considered by this advisory commission.

The league believes first that the advisory commission should conduct hearings to receive input from residents about how the process should occur and suggestions on how district lines should be drawn. Then, after the commission creates proposed districts, there should be additional public hearings to discuss them. These hearings should be in all three towns and two cities in Nassau County and should occur at a variety of times (day and evening) and at multiple locations in order to accommodate as many people as possible. Equally important is that all meeting locations be handicapped-accessible.

The entire redistricting process should be mindful of all populations in Nassau County, especially our minority population and the process must comply with the Federal Voting Rights Act. The League also believes that all districts be contiguous, reasonably compact and that they retain communities of interest such as villages, within one legislative district.

The hearing times and locations should be posted at least seven days in advance on the website of the redistricting commission, as well as minutes of the previous meetings and the upcoming meeting’s agenda. All data for the creation of the maps should be on the website as well as comment section for public input.

At the most recent meeting of the temporary advisory redistricting commission, we were astonished that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats could even agree on their own operating criteria. The league is prepared to work toward a resolution acceptable to all involved.

Barbara Epstein
Nancy Rosenthal
Co-chairs Redistricting Committee
League of Women Voters of Nassau County