Hempstead Town Board member Dorothy Goosby, a Democrat whose 1988 civil rights lawsuit upended the longtime at-large voting system in Long Island’s largest town, has entered the fight against Nassau’s new legislative redistricting plan, drawn by Republican Nassau County Attorney John Ciampoli.
Goosby sent out an email news release to her supporters, urging them to “let your voice be heard” by attending Monday’s public hearing on the plan.
“The proposed redistricting plan will redraw community lines and make the minority voice mute,” she wrote. She included a map of the new districts superimposed over the map of the old districts.
“Many minority areas will be divided and merged with non-minority areas. This would effectively remove the ability of the minority population to elect the candidates which might best represent them,” she said.
“Don't Lose the Fight that Has Already Been Fought!”
As her email, points out, Goosby, represented by attorney Fred Brewington, sued Hempstead, arguing its townwide voting system disenfranchised minority communities.
“As a result of the successful Goosby v Town of Hempstead case, which Brewington calls “the Mother Voting Rights Case” on Long Island, the Town of Hempstead’s at-large voting system was dismantled. In its place, the Federal Courts created six Councilmatic districts, allowing minority voters the chance to elect candidates of their choice,” the email notes.
She adds that the federal decision on Hempstead “served as a foundation for Jackson v County of Nassau, which, based on the one person, one vote standard, invalidated the Board of Supervisors and created the County Legislature, allowing the opportunity for persons of color to have representation through new Legislative Districts.”
Ciampoli and Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa) have repeatedly said the legislature needs to redistrict quickly now to prevent minority communities from being disenfranchised as a result of population changes in the 19 legislative districts over the past 10 years.