Voting Rights Trial on Long Island
Professor Jeff Wice, with whom I sit on the New York State Redistricting Roundtable, issued the following release.
In June 2018, Plaintiffs – individual Latino residents and two nonprofit organizations that serve Latino residents of Islip, Make the Road New York and New York Communities for Change -sued the Islip Town Board and Islip Town Government, alleging that Islip’s at-large voting structure for Town Board denies Latinos representation in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Plaintiffs seek to replace Islip’s at-large voting system with single member districts, which must include at least one majority Latino district. Under the current system, Islip’s sizable Latino population is unable to elect their preferred candidates to Town Board because they are consistently outvoted by the white majority. Moreover, no candidate of Latino ethnicity has ever been elected to Town Board. During the pendency of the case, the November 2019 election for Town Board was held under the at-large system and, as has become routine in Islip, the preferred candidates of Latino voters, as well as the one Latino candidate, were decisively defeated.
WHEN: Monday, August 3, 2020, 2pm.
WHERE: Islip Town Hall, located at 655 Main St., Islip, NY 11751
Masks and social distancing will be required.
WHO: Plaintiffs in Flores v. The Town of Islip
On Thursday, July 30, 2020, Judge Gary R. Brown of the Eastern District of New York scheduled a September trial. In doing so, Judge Brown denied Islip’s plea to put off a trial, stating that this case is a matter of significance, and the Court will continue to expedite and prioritize this case.” Judge Brown’s decision to proceed in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the grave importance of this case and that it must be efficiently resolved].” As Plaintiffs have consistently argued, any delay would only further harm to a community that has been disenfranchised, ignored and forgotten for far too long. Judge Brown’s ruling is a step closer to victory for the Plaintiffs in ensuring that another election will not go by under a system that deprives Latinos in Islip the right to be heard.
The Plaintiffs are represented by a legal team that includes Frederick K. Brewington, Randolph McLaughlin and lawyers from the firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, who have undertaken this important case to bring about meaningful change for the Latino community of Islip. The press conference will include members of the legal team, members of the plaintiff organizations and some of the individual Plaintiffs. In the midst of necessary and important changes happening across the country, it is imperative that the Latino residents of Islip receive justice long overdue.