(MINEOLA, N.Y.) - Nassau County Legislature Minority Leader Kevan M. Abrahams (D - Freeport) and his Minority Caucus colleagues have filed legislation to preserve the integrity of the process that will determine the district lines for the 2023 Legislature election.
Currently, there is a direct conflict between New York State election law and the Nassau County Charter that - if left unresolved - would force candidates to gather petition signatures to qualify for the ballot before final district lines are adopted by the Legislature. While the period for circulating designating petitions for the Legislature election is set to begin on Feb. 28, 2023, the deadline for the Legislature to adopt district maps is March 7, 2023 - one week after petitions are set to go out. New York State shifted to consolidated June primaries in 2019; previously, County-level primaries were held in September. However, Nassau County did not update its deadlines to accommodate the change.
To correct this conflict, the Minority Caucus has filed an amendment to the County Charter that would move the Legislature’s deadline to adopt district lines two months earlier - to Jan. 9, 2023. Doing so would create sufficient time for a final plan to be adopted and for the Nassau County Board of Elections to prepare designating petitions. A corresponding deadline for Nassau County’s Temporary Districting Advisory Commission (TDAC) to submit its recommendations to the Legislature has been moved forward two months to Nov. 7, 2022.
However, the process is already several months behind schedule due to Republican stonewalling. During the last redistricting process, the first TDAC meeting was het on May 31, 2012. By comparison, recent published reports illustrate how Republicans in 2022 have “ignored” requests from their Democratic counterparts to even hold an initial meeting for the Commission, raising concerns that they are seeking to “run out the clock” and force the adoption of gerrymandered districts without adequate public input or scrutiny.
“Nassau County residents deserve a fair, orderly and transparent redistricting process that respects their feedback and input, and we must swiftly correct this conflict if we are to meet that standard,” Minority Leader Abrahams said. “Unfortunately, we have not witnessed any level of concern from Republicans about completing or even starting an endeavor that will impact every Nassau resident for the next 10 years. It is time for our counterparts to begin treating this process with the seriousness and urgency that it deserves.”