Town of Hempstead hires demographic consultant for redistricting
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In response to questions from the public, a representative of the Town Attorney’s Office said that Skyline was not picked through a competitive bidding process. He said that other demographic consulting companies were considered, but he did not have their names available. He also said that he did not know whether Skyline had ever handled redistricting for a government controlled by the Democratic Party.
Several people raised concerns about whether the redistricting plan that the town will formulate with Skyline’s input will respect the constitutional principle of “one person, one vote.”
Claudia Borecky, president of the North and Central Merrick Civic Association, called for a bipartisan commission, not a private company, to carry out redistricting. “The Town of Hempstead [Board] is six Republicans and one Democrat. It’s not fair that you’ll just hire some company to do the maps that’ll gerrymander them for Republican votes,” Borecky said.
Murray responded that any allegations of gerrymandering are premature. “Aren’t you borrowing trouble, Ms. Borecky?” the supervisor said. “We just hired [Skyline], and you’re talking about maps that are going to be gerrymandered. I think you’re borrowing trouble.”
Young said after the meeting that he was “far from satisfied” with the answers and reassurances that the board gave. “The Town Democratic Committee is concerned about minority representation in the town’s west end, in the area around Elmont and Franklin Square,” Young said. “I hope that the board won’t gerrymander that area …We cannot disenfranchise these voters.”