New York Communities for Change v. Nassau County

Location: New York
Court Type: New York Supreme Court
Status: Ongoing
Last Update: February 21, 2024

What's at Stake

Voters of color in Nassau County, N.Y., are no strangers to having to organize to ensure their votes count. But in 2023, the county’s Legislature took vote dilution to new heights. In places like Elmont, Freeport, Inwood, Lakeview, South Valley Stream, New Hyde Park, and Uniondale, the Legislature “cracked and packed” communities of color with the effect of squashing their growing electoral power. But the landmark John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York (NYVRA), enacted in 2022, and the New York Municipal Home Rule Law prohibit New York State and localities from diluting the voting strength and political influence of Black, Latino, and Asian residents.

In February 2024, the New York Civil Liberties Union, American Civil Liberties Union, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Steptoe LLP filed a state lawsuit to protect the electoral power of Nassau County’s communities of color.

Though residents of color make up over a third of Nassau County’s eligible voters, the Legislature drew a map that only creates 4 districts out of 19 where Black, Latino, and Asian residents constitute a majority of eligible voters. The NYVRA clearly prohibits racial vote dilution and New York Municipal Home Rule Law establishes strict, rank-ordered requirements for county legislative redistricting, of which the Nassau County Legislature clearly failed to comply.

The ACLU, NYCLU, and their partners represent New York Communities for Change and four individual voters, all of whom reside in impacted districts. This lawsuit is the first legal challenge to a districting scheme brought under a state voting rights act.

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