Altschuler: In Nassau race, minority voters can make the difference
October 28, 2013 by DANIEL ALTSCHULER in Newsday [Original here]
Despite a recent polling showing an advantage for Edward Mangano in the Nassau County Executive race, some analysts are expecting a tighter contest on Nov. 5. After all, the last time Republican Mangano and Democrat Thomas Suozzi faced off, the difference was 386 votes.
The focus now has predictably turned to the typical analysis: which candidate would more effectively mobilize his base, and who would convince voters he is the most fiscally responsible. This approach, however, misses a fundamental transformation in Nassau County that could impact the election. Given Nassau County's recent demographic changes, the decisive factor could be turnout in communities of color.
With two weeks to go until pivotal local elections in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties, we're making waves – and headlines. Today Newsday highlights our first-of-its-kind candidate forum, showcasing the transformative power of civic engagement in working class Latino, African-American, and immigrant communities. Click through for the article in full.Read more
Parties Vie for New Nassau
Edward Mangano, Thomas Suozzi Face Off for County ExecutiveBy Will James
Political analysts and party officials say they expect the race for Nassau County executive to test the power of the growing black, Hispanic and Asian communities transforming suburban Long Island.
Republican County Executive Edward Mangano is running for re-election against his predecessor, Thomas Suozzi, a Democrat who had won two terms to the office. Four years ago, Mr. Mangano unseated Mr. Suozzi by fewer than 400 votes.
This year, Democrats are working to turn out new minority voters to blunt the power of the county’s Republican machine. “Taking advantage of the demographic changes is the greatest challenge for the Suozzi campaign, and overcoming them is the greatest for Mangano,” said Lawrence Levy, executive dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University.
A growing Caribbean population helped fuel a 17% increase in Nassau’s voting-age black population between 2000 and 2010, according to the Nassau County United Redistricting Coalition, a group that advocated for minorities in the county’s legislative-redistricting process. The Hispanic voting-age population grew 49% over that period, driven by Salvadoran and Guatemalan immigrants, according to the analysis. And the Asian voting-age population surged 68%, as South Asians settled in North Shore communities.
“We’re not in Levittown anymore,” said Daniel Altschuler, the coordinator of the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, a nonpartisan group trying to involve working-class minorities in politics. “People have this conception of Nassau County as this post-World War II, mostly-white suburb,” but demographics no longer bear that out, he said.
Nonwhite residents accounted for all the growth in Nassau between 2000 and 2010. The county remains mostly white, but the voting-age white population fell by 9% over that period.
We have big news! Yesterday, following months of organizing by the Long Island Civic Engagement Table (LICET) and its allies, County Executive Ed Mangano signed the second of two executive orders ensuring free translation and interpretation to limited-English proficient (LEP) residents of Nassau County in their interactions with county agencies.
This is an important civil rights victory for Nassau County, and we cheer this new policy!Read more