In a vote along party lines, the Nassau County Legislature approved a controversial redistricting plan on March 5. The new maps will redraw the county's 19 legislative districts, which will take effect for this November's election.
The Legislature's 10 Republicans voted in favor of the plan, while the nine Democrats opposed it. The map adopted was a modified plan of the proposal released by Republican members of the Temporary Districting Advisory Commission.
Four legislators will be merged into two districts. A pair of North Shore Democrats (Delia DeRiggi-Whitton and Wayne Wink) will be combined into one district, as will two Republicans (Joseph Belisi and Michael Venditto) in southeast Nassau County. A plan to put Democratics Legislators David Denenberg and Joseph Scannell in a district together was later scrapped after much community opposition.
The Republican plan had been widely criticized by Nassau County residents and community leaders for splitting up several communities including the Five Towns and Elmont. Several hearings on the proposed maps lasted for hours.
The Democrats also proposed a map that would have made slight changes to the current boundaries to account for population shifts. A coalition of good government organizations also released an third map. Neither plan was considered by the full Legislature.
Redistricting was required to balance out populations among the county's 19 Legislative districts based on 2010 census data.
The map must still be approved by County Executive Ed Mangano, a Republican. Some groups have called for him to veto it. Brian Nevin, a spokesman for Mangano, said he has yet to review the map.
Kevan Abrahams, the Legislative minority leader, said he expects the map will be challenged in court. Frank Moroney, who chaired the redistricting commission, has said he believes the map meets all constitutional requirements and would survive any legal challenges.