Advocates (including Make the Road New York) are using a newly released poll to press for changes in the way voting maps are drawn up in Nassau County.
Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, says some public officials have resisted change by arguing that voters don’t understand the redistricting process.
But she says the newly released poll shows 81 percent of randomly selected voters are up on the issue, and they want citizens or community leaders to draw the next set of county maps rather than politicians.
“Nassau County voters are aware of how bad the process was,” Lerner insists. “The public absolutely understands the need for reform. And the public wants to see improvement – not necessarily perfection.”
Critics say the poll relied on a relatively small sample, but Lerner says it reflects what Common Cause is hearing from the community.
The poll was conducted by the Long Island Civic Engagement Table at the end of November and had a margin of error of 6 percentage points.
Ana Dighero lives in Hempstead and works with New York Communities for Change. She agrees with the poll findings and says more accurate political voting lines would make politicians more responsive to the needs of her community.
“It’s very important to us because the community can get better schools, education, better opportunity, because it is making a difference in the number for the voters,” she says.
Lerner adds now is the perfect time to bring up the issue, because politicians can take action in the coming year in a way that is unlikely to impact their own political future.
“So, they can be dispassionate and come up with a better, nonpartisan, independent process that will be a fair redistricting process,” she says.
The maps aren’t scheduled to be redrawn again until after the 2020 Census.
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