Karl Rove and Weapons of Mass Destruction in Nassau

Nassau County remains one of the most segregated counties in the country. This disgusting move by the Nassau County Republicans ensures that racism is alive and kicking in Nassau and that people even in this day and age have to continue to fight for voting rights.

Karl RoveAs I sit at the hearing on redistricting in Nassau County, the tactics of Karl Rove and the perpetration of the fictions of “weapons of mass destruction” come to mind. It is no secret that the Republicans are worried about keeping their majority due to Ed Mangano’s poor leadership as county executive. Rather than win an election fairly, the Republicans want to steal it through redistricting.

Using flawed rationale regarding the county charter and census, the Republicans are using the minority community as the reason they have to redistrict quickly. Their argument is that there are too many people in one of the minority districts and they must immediately fix it. This is the “weapons of mass destruction” simile because the fear is all make believe. They are right that the problem needs to be fixed, but through a real process with community involvement and consensus building. The real impact of this action will actually dilute the existing minority districts. It splits Hempstead into three districts which makes absolutely no sense. It combines Elmont with a religious Jewish community which makes absolutely no sense. And they basically Gerrymandered lines creating discontinuous district lines which is not constitutional.

These tactics are so shaky that Republicans are willing to revisit the issue  in two years and acknowledge that the districts will be changed again. The cost of running the elections and having the Board of Elections make the necessary changes with the new voting machines is enormous and  might even be prohibitive. What about the candidates who are planning to run?  They do not even know what district they are in.

Nassau County remains one of the most segregated counties in the country. This disgusting move by the Nassau County Republicans ensures that racism is alive and kicking in Nassau and that people even in this day and age have to continue to fight for voting rights. This issue can really be weapons of mass destruction to the minority community. We will go back to the old days where only white people can be elected in Nassau County.

Author: Lisa Tyson

Lisa Tyson is a powerful, and passionate, advocate for progressive change on Long Island. For almost 15 years, Tyson has won important victories around a policy agenda aimed at promoting sustainable development, revitalizing local communities, creating effective democracy, enhancing human dignity, and achieving economic, racial and social justice on Long Island. As Director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition (LIPC), Tyson formulates policy, raises funds, and manages a full time staff of seven, in support of that ambitious program. Her successes are legion: Passing a $3 million affordable housing bond in the Town of East Hampton; Writing and passing Nassau Counties Living Wage Law; Demanding fair elections by lobbying successfully for optical scanners in voting; And anchoring a statewide campaign to change the statewide education formula to be based on students’ needs. Tyson is a founding member of the Working Families Party and is a Steering Committee member of the Long Island Regional Council where she plays a crucial role in endorsements. In 2010, she was selected by the Long Island Press as one of the 50 most influential people on Long Island. A life long resident of Long Island, Tyson was graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing/Communications from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1993. She continued her studies in the Masters of Science program in Urban and Environmental Studies at Renssealear Polytechnic Institute in 1994.

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