Op-Ed: STOP Gerrymandering – and STOP North Hempstead’s "Lurveymander"
By Mark Demetropoulos
The term “Gerrymandering” was coined back in March of 1812, by the newspaper the Boston Gazette, which featured a cartoon of a forked tongued salamander drawn onto the map of Massachusetts – which they dubbed the “Gerrymander.” The salamander fit right onto the design of a contorted voting district in the state of Massachusetts, signed into law by then-Governor Elbridge Gerry, to draw-out one of his political rivals.
Sadly, these forked-tongue voting districts are still being drawn in New York - recently rated one of the worst offenders of this practice. And despite both political parties in New York State not having clean hands on the issue, currently, it is the Democratic Party attempts to use gerrymandering to solidify its one party rule, and stifle democracy within the state.
In late April of this year, the New York Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court in the state, ruled that the Democrats latest attempt to gerrymander the Federal Congressional and Senate districts violated the State Constitution. Chief Judge Janet DiFore, herself a Democrat, ruled that the Democrats’ maps were “drawn with impermissible partisan purpose...” and were “procedurally unconstitutional.”
The NY top Court – 100% Democrats – threw-out Governor Hochul and the Democratic Legislature’s Gerrymandered district maps. The Court then ordered new US Congress and NYS Senate districts drawn by a Court-appointed Special Master, and then ordered a new primary election date – in August - to fill those seats.
Despite this clear direction from the top Court, a group of local Democrats in North Hempstead has decided to just ignore the Court, and has tried to gerrymander yet again.
In the Town of North Hempstead, with a Town Board split 4 Democrats to 3 Republicans, the Democratic majority just imposed a new districting map that not only gerrymanders voters, but then actually disenfranchises voters, by giving white Democrats double votes (in 2021 and 2023), while “pushing-off” minority voters who have lately been voting Republican (until 2025).
White Democrats get to vote twice; minorities who support Republicans get zero votes: It’s the North Hempstead Democratic Party version of “Jim Crow.”
This brilliant scheme was pushed by Councilwoman Veronica Lurvey (D - Great Neck) and is based on the simple trick of “delaying” – for six years – the right of minorities and Republicans to vote, while “accelerating” – to every two years – the right of white liberal Democrats to vote. Lurvey and her caucus simply “changed” the number of her old District 4, to new District 5.
Odd number districts’ elections are then pushed off for another three years, which then allows neighboring – predominantly Democratic - districts to vote twice - in 2021 and 2023.
Those districts which get vote twice (2021 and 2023) are all – coincidentally - heavily white and Democratic districts. Those districts which have their votes pushed off to 2025 are – coincidentally – heavily minority and Republican: A very corrupt, self-serving plan for Ms. Lurvey.
News publications have called North Hempstead’s gerrymander the “Lurveymander”
Fortunately, for all citizens of New York State - Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike - this new Lurveymander will be struck down in the Courts, since it obviously violates federal equal protection, civil rights, and voting rights laws.
But what a shame that a small group of self-proclaimed “progressive” Democrats, like Veronica Lurvey and her caucus, would act more like “Bull Connor” and his gang of white supremacists, to disenfranchise minority voters who have begun voting Republican. I guess that’s not allowed.
It is a shame that New York State cannot rely on its elected officials to act honestly, and without illegal corrupt intent. In the meantime – even with corrupted districting maps - New York State’s voters should vote against any official who voted for illegal gerrymanders – or the Lurveymander.