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NYCLU Sues Nassau County Legislature For Hiding Redistricting Records

NEW YORK – The New York Civil Liberties Union sued the Nassau County Legislature on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Port Washington-Manhasset for the statistical analyses that the Legislature claims justify its decision to end a 30-year bipartisan consensus that its redistricting plans must comply with the federal Voting Rights Act to avoid diluting the voting strength of communities of color. The new redistricting plan will govern the county’s legislative elections for the next decade, yet was based on analyses that the Legislature refuses to disclose to the public.

“The Legislature’s attempt to evade its transparency obligations and legal protections for voters of color precisely illustrate why officials should not be able to draw redistricting maps free from public scrutiny,” said Perry Grossman, Director of the Voting Rights Project at the New York Civil Liberties Union. “New Yorkers must have access to the information they need to hold Nassau County officials accountable for complying with the federal Voting Rights Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights of New York.”

The analyses that the Legislature relied upon were generated by Sean P. Trende, an elections analyst who recently submitted an expert report in support of Alabama’s efforts to resist federal court orders to have its congressional redistricting map comply with the Voting Rights Act.

The Legislature’s Presiding Officer has refused requests by legislators of color to see Trende’s facts, data, and statistical analyses before taking a vote on the map, which passed on a party-line vote in February.

The Nassau County Temporary Districting Advisory Commission took six months and a dozen public hearings before recommending two proposed redistricting plans to the Legislature. Despite this, the Legislature rejected both proposals, and passed their own map into law only eighteen days after it was introduced.

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