Letter: Open up Nassau redistricing process

Hundreds of community members attended a rally in

Hundreds of community members attended a rally in Hempstead opposing the GOP redistricting plan for the Nassau County Legislature. (Credit: Danielle Finkelstein, 2011)

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In response to Susan Lerner's op-ed, "Voters are the losers in Nassau fight" [Opinion, July 3], the League of Women Voters of Nassau County believes in many of the same principles.

The league, a nonpartisan organization, has spoken to the county legislature and the temporary advisory redistricting commission in support of a fairer and more transparent process. The commission should conduct hearings, posted seven days in advance, to allow residents to comment on the process and suggest district lines.

Data for the creation of the maps should be on a website, with a comments section for public input. Once proposed lines have been drawn, there should be additional public hearings.

Hearings should be in all three of the county's towns and its two cities, at day and evening hours, and in handicapped-accessible locations to accommodate as many people as possible.

The entire redistricting process should be mindful especially of our minority population, in compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act. Districts should be contiguous and reasonably compact, and they should not break up communities of interest, such as villages.

At the most recent commission meeting, we were astonished that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats could agree on how to proceed. The league is prepared to work toward a resolution acceptable to all involved.

Barbara Epstein

Nancy Rosenthal

Point Lookout

Editor's note: The writers are co-chairs of the redistricting committee of the League of Women Voters of Nassau County.

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