Gerrymandering Grand Prix
On March 23rd, 2014, the Nassau County United Redistricting Coalition rallied for the first ever “Gerrymandering Grand Prix,” a guided caravan tour of the zany borders of gerrymandered Nassau County Legislature districts. Standing at the starting point in Roslyn near the intersection of five different districts (9, 10, 11, 16, 18), Common Cause/NY Executive Director illustrated the chop-shop division of communities across the North Shore.
“We’re driving the Gerrymandering Grand Prix in order to illustrate how removed the current gerrymandered county legislative districts are from the actual communities of interest in which Nassau County residents live,” said Susan Lerner. “Gerrymandering hurts our democracy by dividing communities, entrenching incumbents, and discouraging political competition and participation. Here in Nassau, we have the opportunity to end gerrymandering for good by amending the county charter to establish a fair independent redistricting process, one that puts the interests of voters, not politicians, first. We have been working with the County Legislature to discuss our proposal, and tomorrow, we are rallying at the County Legislature to show public support for redistricting reform.”
Waving black and white checked racing flags, members of the Nassau County Redistricting Coalition drove caravan style along the jagged borders of the 16th district in Nassau County to demonstrate its irrational gerrymandered shape.
The race began at the corner of Hillsdale Avenue and Mineola Avenue in Roslyn. At this corner where we stand, three districts converge to divide Roslyn in a scheme to divvy up the northern half of Nassau County into three safely Republican districts and three safely Democratic districts. The goal is to entrench the majority and avoid the risk of actual electoral competition.
On the north side of Hillsdale Avenue is District 11 based in Port Washington and Glen Cove. This district uses part of Roslyn as a connecting piece to combine these two distinct areas and communities of interest. On the south side of Hillsdale Avenue is District 16, the notorious “Serpent of Syosset” that stretches all the way to the Suffolk border.
Across Mineola Avenue is District 9, the fearsome “Mutant of Manhasset” that runs from Manhasset all the way to Floral Park on the Queens border. The Mutant cuts through Roslyn in order to add Manhasset’s conservative voting bloc to the district based in Mineola.
And just to the south lies District 14, the “Beast of Bethpage” which stretches all the way from Floral Park to Bethpage.
The “Gerrymander Grand Prix” proceeded along the border of District 16 and District 14 from Roslyn to Hicksville, another community of interest completely sliced and diced by the current gerrymandered plan. The finish line was the Hicksville-Gregory Museum, where one can walk two short blocks and pass through three districts – -16, 14, and 17.
If you want to help us slay these political monstrosities of districts and cure Nassau of gerrymandering once and for all, sign up to our mailing list and tell your Legislator to put the Voters First and support redistricting reform!