A months-long battle over Nassau County’s legislative lines ended on Tuesday when New York State’s highest court unanimously ruled that the new lines voted in by Republicans cannot be used this election year.
The state Court of Appeals voted 7-0 that the redistricting plan, which splits the Five Towns and shifts areas such as Malverne and Seaford into other districts, will not go into effect until 2013. Previously, a state Supreme Court judge had ruled in the Republicans’ favor.
“After months of legal wrangling, an extraordinary waste of time, energy and the taxpayer’s precious resources, once again, the courts unanimously ruled that the Nassau Republican Machine was wrong,” said Nassau County Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs in a statement. “The hypocrisy of trying to remedy what the Republicans felt was voter disparity in current districts by moving more than 540,000 citizens while dividing towns and communities was not lost on the Court of Appeals.”
In their decision, the justices said that the map laid out by the legislature earlier this year was the first step of three laid out by the county charter. Therefore, the new map could not be used this year.
“I am pleased that a definitive decision has been rendered by the court. We have always maintained that there were conflicts in the county charter by having two conflicting processes," said Presiding Officer Peter J. Schmitt. "The Court upheld that we followed the guidelines correctly and ruled that the actual redistricting should be used in 2013. This puts an end to the inequities in the county charter and we can move ahead to other matters.”