Legislative map could be challenged

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“We are disappointed but not surprised that the County Legislature passed this gerrymandered map along party lines …,” Daniel Altschuler, coordinator of the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, said the day the plan was approved. “We have made our voices heard in the last weeks of community protest, but the map remains fundamentally flawed and the process is broken. County Executive Mangano must veto the map and demand a truly nonpartisan process for all future redistricting.”

Brian Nevin, a spokesman for the county executive, said that Mangano would review the plan, but did not say whether he would consider vetoing it.

Last year, a Temporary Districting Advisory Commission was created to redraw the districts and send a proposal to the Legislature. The five Republican commissioners submitted one plan, and the five Democratic commissioners submitted another. Ultimately, a modified version of the Republican plan went to the Legislature for adoption.

The Nassau United Redistricting Coalition, a collection of several good-government groups, drafted its own plan. Neither that plan nor the Democratic map was considered by the Legislature.

During several hours-long hearings hosted by both the commission and the Legislature, residents blasted the Republican plan, saying that it divided communities and was designed to protect those in power. Frank Moroney, who chaired the commission, argued that the map upholds all constitutional requirements, is consistent with the “one person, one vote” principle and would survive any legal challenge.

Under the plan, Democratic Legislators Delia DeRiggi-Whitton and Wayne Wink would be merged into one district on the North Shore, and Republicans Joseph Belisi and Michael Venditto would be combined in the southeast corner of the county. After much public outcry, Democrat David Denenberg, of Merrick, was restored to his district. He was initially to be merged into a district with Joseph Scannell.

Barring any successful legal challenges, the new map will be in effect for the November election, when all 19 seats on the Legislature are up for a vote.

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