Residents of Long Beach and nearby municipalities sent a clear message to the county’s Temporary Districting Advisory Commission this week: Keep the 4th Legislative District intact, and add the rest of Island Park.
The 4th L.D. encompasses Long Beach, Lido Beach, Atlantic Beach, Point Lookout and parts of Oceanside and Island Park.
The 10-member commission, comprising five Democrats and five Republicans, launched a series of meetings in communities across the county last month. On Monday the group came to Long Beach City Hall, where its members heard from more than 50 residents who called on the panel to keep the district united.
“I ask that you keep this barrier island together, that it stays with Atlantic Beach and Point Lookout,” said County Legislator Denise Ford (R-Long Beach). “Unfortunately, the last time we did redistricting, they decided it was best to split Island Park under two legislators, and I’m asking … that Island Park be brought back under one legislator, because it is very difficult — we are such a small, small community that is split right down the middle. I urge you to listen to what everyone has to say.”
Redistricting is required every 10 years following the release of census data, and the county’s legislative districts will likely look different beginning in 2014. Their representatives will be elected in November 2013, and some residents could find unfamiliar names on the ballot if district lines shift.
“This is the third in a series of meetings we are holding, soliciting information from the general public so the commissioners can proceed with their work of drawing districts that meet the requirements of the Constitution of the United States Voting Rights Act …,” Chairman Frank Moroney said on Monday. “This means that the number of the people in each district must be substantially equal.”
Moroney explained that districts must meet a constitutional requirement of “one person one vote,” and that the ideal district, based on 2010 census figures, has 70,502 people. “Each district must be compact, contiguous and fairly represented,” he said.