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Long Island Town Abandons Voting System Deemed Discriminatory Against Latinx Voters

New citizens line up to take photos after a 2019 naturalization ceremony in Central Islip, New York.
Charles Lane
/
WSHU
New citizens line up to take photos after a 2019 naturalization ceremony in Central Islip, New York.

Latinx residents on Long Island praised this week a settlement in a federal lawsuit that overturned the town of Islip’s voting system that they say discriminated against them.

The town of Islip will abandon at-large voting and instead create council districts.

This is to settle a federal Voting Rights Acts lawsuit that claimed Latinos were disenfranchised by Islip’s current at-large voting system where the entire town votes to seat all town board members. Such systems are often criticized for marginalizing minority populations.

Roughly a third of Islip is Latino. Only one person of color has ever been elected in Islip. Five other towns in Suffolk still vote at-large.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.