Nassau Legislature redistricting

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New electoral district lines are due to go into effect for the Nassau County Legislature for the 2013 election. Several principles guided the drawing of these redistricting plans proposed by the Center For Research, Regional Education & Outreach at the State University of New York at New Paltz.

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Mainly we sought to draw compact districts of equal population that are contiguous and respect communities. Secondary considerations were more specific to Long Island. For instance, preference was given to boundaries that reflect a North Shore-South Shore split, rather than having narrower districts that extend from north to south.

Since Nassau's towns are so large, adhering to town boundaries mattered less than keeping intact the smaller communities sometimes referred to as villages but more properly called "Census Designated Places." CDPs may be incorporated villages, but also include unincorporated communities often associated with a ZIP code, school district or population center. When CDPs were split, we tried to do it sensibly. Often a street grid was used to identify neighborhoods that extended beyond a CDP.

Several factors helped identify places that were similar and could be grouped. First and most obvious was proximity and whatever geographical features define the place. A second indicator was population density, which can indicate the types of buildings (multifamily, single family), or even the nature of the community (urban, suburban, rural).

The last indicator was demographic data. This was used to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act. In creating new districts, we took care not to diminish minority representation. Socio-economic indicators such as household income and blue- or white-collar jobs were not included in the Maptitude data for county legislative redistricting, and data is only available from 2009 estimates at the voting district level. Because of this, population density was used as an indicator of other socioeconomic characteristics, such as income. Additional maps at the end of the section show how population density is a good indicator in these instances.

The target population for each of the 19 districts in Nassau County was 70,502. Typically, local redistricting is done with a deviation of plus or minus 5 percent. For Nassau that would be 3,525 people more or less than 70,502, resulting in a maximum deviation of 7,050 people between districts.

In the districting plan created for this project, the greatest positive deviation was 1.75 percent, and the greatest negative deviation was 1.96 percent. That is, the difference in population between the most populous district and the least populous district was kept to 2,620 people, or 3.43 percent.

These redistricting plans were blind to incumbents. Addresses of incumbents' residences were not known during creation of the maps. Their residences were plotted on the maps only after the redistricting plans were final.

There were only three districts where the demographic profile of the area was used in creating the district boundaries. These were Districts 7, 10, and 11, and this was done to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act.

Nassau County Proposed Districts

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District 1: Southwest portion of North Hempstead as well as New Hyde Park in the Town of Hempstead

Corresponds with current District 9

In this map, the population density of the census blocks in this district is similar. Also, the decision to cross the town line was made to keep New Hyde Park whole. This is an example of how population density is used to identify similar communities. To the north and east of District 1, density thins. A similar density is found south of the district. If, when drawing this district, more people were needed to make the target population, it would be a logical decision to extend the district to the south.

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District 2: Jericho, Old Westbury, Brookville area

Corresponds with current District 18

District 2 is a more thinly populated . As the district extends from the portion of Mineola to the northeast, population density thins. The result is a larger district that can be characterized as more "North Shore," even though it does not extend all the way to Long Island Sound.

District 3: Carle Place, Westbury, Salisbury and Hicksville

Corresponds with current District 17

District 3 is centered on New Cassel. It extends rather narrowly to the east and to the west. Carle Place and Westbury were kept together because of the neighborhood that spans the two. Part of Hicksville was added so the district would have enough people.

District 4: North Hempstead, Kings Point area

Corresponds with current District 10

This district has been drawn as a North Shore district. The only special consideration was made to extend into Roslyn rather than moving the district farther north into Port Washington. Roslyn also has a similar population density to rest of District 4.

District 5: Glen Cove, North Shore area

Corresponds with current District 11

District 5 is another North Shore district. Because the Bayville-Centre Island peninsula needed to be included in this district for continuity, Locust Valley and Glen Cove were split.

District 6: Oyster Bay, North Shore area

Corresponds with current District 16

District 6, another North Shore district, runs out of shore and extends south along the Nassau-Suffolk border. Since these communities are lower-density areas and, in this case, the town extends southward in the same manner, it made more sense to include these communities in the district than to try to make the southward expansion more uniform. Due to sparse population, we had to include Westbury and Plainview to get enough people.

District 7: Elmont, Valley Stream area

Corresponds With Current District 3

District 7 is on the Nassau-Queens border. It has a medium-high density and a diverse population. It corresponds roughly with the current District 3. Due to the increase in population density, the size of the district has shrunk. When it was checked for compliance with the Voting Rights Act, the proposed district had an increase in the African-American population; it also had lower Hispanic and white populations. This is likely the effect of a westward shift in the African-American population in Queens.

District 8: Garden City, Floral Park area

Corresponds with current District 8

District 8 stretches east from Bellerose to Garden City. Considerations in drawing this district were population density, and making a mid-county district.

District 9: Valley Stream, Malverne, Lynbrook area

Corresponds with current District 6

District 9 is another suburban, mid-county district that borders a South Shore district. The population density, interlocking neighborhoods, and the Census Designated Places boundaries all suggested that this was a district of similar parts.

District 10: Hempstead, Lakeview

Corresponds with current District 2

District 10 is the first of two Hempstead districts. Some more suburban neighborhoods were included in District 10 to meet the population target. This was one area where the decision to maximize minority representation was given priority over drawing more compact districts.

District 11: Uniondale, Roosevelt area

Corresponds with current District 1

District 11 is the second Hempstead district. It also includes part of Uniondale. Because of the area's density, as indicated by population density (the highest in Nassau County), and a large minority population, careful consideration was given to maximize minority representation.

District 12: South Shore, Rockaway-Inwood area

Corresponds with current District 7

District 12 is a South Shore district in the southwest corner of the county. Atlantic Beach and Long Beach were split because of the bridges that connect Lawrence to Atlantic Beach, and Island Park to Long Beach.

District 13: Oceanside, Long Beach

Corresponds with current District 4

District 13 is a South Shore district that includes Long Beach and Lido Beach, connecting them with Oceanside. Atlantic Beach and Long Beach were split because of the bridges that connect Lawrence to Atlantic Beach, and Island Park to Long Beach.

District 14: Baldwin, Freeport area

Corresponds with current District 5

District 14 is a South Shore district that on the north borders Districts 10 and 11. Care was taken to ensure that its northern boundary actually represented a shift from one community to the next.

District 15: Merrick, Wantagh area

Corresponds with current District 19

District 15 is a South Shore district with fairly straightforward boundaries. The district rises north from the shore. The town line is its western border. To the north, its borders are defined by Census Designated Places or by the Southern State Parkway.

District 16: East Meadow, East Garden City, North Merrick area

Corresponds with current District 13

District 16 picks up on its southern end where district 15 leaves off. The northeastern border is defined by Census Designated Places and the Wantagh State Parkway. East Garden City had to be included in this district or District 8 due to the low population density. Since District 8 stretches to the west, this was the logical district for its inclusion.

District 17: Levittown, Hicksville area

Corresponds with current District 15

Districts 17 and 18 both bridge the North Shore districts to the South Shore districts. They are suburban districts. District 17's borders are defined by the Southern State Parkway to the south, the Wantagh State Parkway to the west, and the town line to the east. The northern portion of the district includes part of Hicksville.

District 18: Farmingdale, Bethpage area

Corresponds with current District 14

Districts 17 and 18 bridge North Shore districts to the South Shore districts. They are suburban. District 18 is defined by the border of District 6 to the north, the Wantagh State Parkway to the west, and the county line to the east. The southern border with District 19 seeks to follow the Census Designated Places boundaries, but Massapequa was split to meet population targets in both District 18 and District 19.

District 19: Seaford, Massapequa area

Corresponds with current District 12

District 19 is a South Shore district in the southeast corner of Nassau County. Boundaries reflect in some measure the residual effect of other districting decisions. Some give and take was done between it and District 18 to the north and District 15 to the west to balance the population deviations of all three districts.

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