No opposition to proposed redistricting: Approval expected in January
The Board of Supervisors met with members of the public in the Lincoln County circuit courtroom Monday night to receive feedback on proposed changes to district maps, one of the final steps before new district lines for the county are officially drawn.
Redistricting proposals at the public hearing were met with minimal public reaction, and will now return to the board for a vote, most likely in early January, said District Four Supervisor Eddie Brown.
“Now we head back to the board and make final approval on the new maps. We hope to get this done at the next meeting,” said Brown.
Efforts to redistrict Lincoln County have been ongoing since February when key map architect and consultant with Holland and Rigby Political Redistricting, Bill Rigby revealed 2010 census information at a related public hearing.
At Monday night’s hearing, Rigby and the board unveiled map changes that took into account this census information.
Formerly part of district two, the new map proposal adds approximately 1,000 residents into district one to make up for a population decrease. District one’s total population decreased from 6,277 to 5,446 persons according to the 2010 census, and the minority percentage dropped to 58.13 percent from 59.77 percent.
After redistricting, the district potentially will have 6,721 residents within its borders. Proposed map changes would result in a 66.92 percent minority population within the district. New map lines show an extension of district one to areas north.
As a rule of thumb, political redistricting attempts to maintain what is known as the 65 percent rule for minorities when drawing district maps. The new maps take into account this ideal, and represent an increased black population in district one.
Other notable proposed changes to district maps includes a decrease of close to 700 persons in district four. According to the 2010 census, district four contains 7,818 persons. In the new district map, that number would drop to 7,148, a decrease of 670 persons.
Despite the decrease, the number of persons slated to live within the district is slightly higher then the ideal goal. The ideal goal for individual district populations is 6,974 persons. This number represents an equal division of the total population in each of the five county districts.
The biggest variance between the ideal goal and particular districts is 319 persons in district five, a number that Rigby and board supervisors are comfortable with.
“It’s about as close to equal as feasible,” said board president Nolan Williamson.
“One person, one vote is the template we use,” explained Rigby. “The idea is to provide each potential resident with as much representation as possible.”
Despite the small public turnout, one citizen had a suggestion for future hearings.
“I see why the changes were made and they seem to make sense,” said Roy Smith, a Brookhaven resident. “Next time though, I think it would be helpful to have maps showing a before-and-after look at district changes.”
Revisions to district maps will result in changes to polling booth locations. This is a change that Rigby doesn’t anticipate to be problematic.
“As long as we get the map revisions approved well ahead of elections, and notify the public, I don’t see any problems,” said Rigby.
Once the maps are turned over to the election’s commissioners, it is up to them to determine related polling booth information.
Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop, who has witnessed county redistricting efforts in the past, noted that this year’s redistricting went well.
“So far this has been an incredibly smooth effort. Smoother than any one I’ve been a part of,” Bishop said.
From here, the board will most likely vote on the redistricting changes at the next board of supervisor’s meeting, Mon. Jan. 6, said Bishop.