Panelists tout the need for a fair and balanced redistribution process in Nassau County – ROP

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Panelists at a Blank Slate Media virtual forum stressed the need for a fair and balanced redistribution process across Nassau. (Screenshot by Robert Pelaez)

Nassau County Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) and League of Women Voters Vice President Michele C. Lamberti expressed the need for a fair and balanced redistribution process in a virtual forum hosted by Blank Slate Media last week.

The redistribution process takes place nationwide every 10 years after the release of US Census data. Ahead of the data’s release this year, Abrahams led the charge in trying to get the county legislature to pass an independent redistribution committee to retain a party’s power majority.

From now on, the redistribution is delegated to an 11-member council made up of five voting members from each party, the last member being a non-voting president chosen by the county executive. Republicans currently hold an 11-8 majority in the county legislature. The committee, Abrahams said, would preserve the boundaries of incorporated towns, cities and villages.

“I think it’s safer that we take the responsibility away from politicians and give the public a chance to have a say in the process where they draw the lines and there is less likelihood of gerrymandering or redistribution to favor a particular party, ”he declared.

During the forum, Abrahams once again praised the importance of establishing a committee and making people understand that redistribution is of the utmost importance.

“For us to move forward, we need to have an independent process that truly reflects the people of Nassau County,” Abrahams said. “I think from that point of view, it was built into our proposal, that we are leading the fight in terms of redistribution.”

In 2013, the district map proposed by the Republican majority was approved by 10 votes to 9. Lamberti said that when considering the redistribution, party affiliation should not be a driving force in creating lines of government. district. With updated census data showing new trends across the county, she said, it’s important to focus on the communities themselves when talking about drawing new district lines.

In the last census, people of color make up 44% of Nassau County, ”Lamberti said. “Our demographics are really changing… I think we should look at communities as the building blocks of districts. “

A qualified majority in the state legislature is able to override the state redistribution commission designed to make the New York election non-partisan. With ripple effects in various states potentially leading to a new Speaker of the House, Lamberti said: “Just because other states are doing it doesn’t mean we should be doing it.”

Lamberti, on behalf of the league, said his colleagues were not happy with how the process has gone so far at the state level, but happy to see the redistribution commission. State collect public comments during pre-hearings.

“This is certainly not how we expected the commission to work,” Lamberti said. “I don’t think voters expected it to work that way and I don’t think it was in the best interests of New Yorkers.”

Abrahams has said the state legislature may have its own prerogative to decide what to do, but he and his colleagues want to focus on how best to serve Nassau County. Abrahams said he believed Nassau could become less politicized and that these lines should be drawn based on census trends, community likeness, community interests, and to create a fair and balanced process.

“I think most people don’t know why it’s so important not to have a one-party rule structure,” Abrahams said. “If a party is able to take 13 seats, it can pretty much control the ties, it can override the vetoes of the county executive.”

Abrahams said that while one party controls the bonding and measures for various road and infrastructure projects, there is reason to criticize that other legislative districts will not have a say in approving the plan. bond of fixed assets. Abrahams said he didn’t want either side to gain too much power from a fair and balanced process perspective.

To view the full interview, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q29lb6OzhbU.


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