Public hearing held for proposed redistricting map

ABERDEEN – Approximately 30 citizens gathered March 18 for a public hearing regarding the proposed redistricting map for Monroe County. After the Census is taken every 10 years, district lines must be redrawn if there are shifts in population to equally balance the county.
Monroe County’s population is 36,989 so the ideal population is 7,397.8 per district. While currently, District 1 has the highest population of 8,180 and District 4 has the lowest with 6,628, the proposed map would place 7,574 in District 1 and 7,295 in District 4.
“Since so much growth has been incurred in the northeast part of the county, we had to shift some of those residents to District 2. Some of District 2’s residents shifted to 3 and we shifted some of those residents to District 4. There was also movement from District 5 to District 4. It was a domino effect since the two districts with the largest deviation weren’t side by side, it effected all the districts,” said Kurt Brummett, research and development director of Three Rivers Planning and Development District.
TRPDD has worked at no cost to the county in revising the redistricting map.
“These trends have been going for years. District 2 keeps getting pushed further north to accommodate the growth in District 1. These people have made their choices in where they want to live,” said Monroe County Board of Supervisors president Billy Kirkpatrick.
For the average citizen, the biggest changes for the average citizen may a change in what supervisor, Justice Court judge or constable serves them as the new map will change the county’s three Justice Court and constable districts as well.
By law, counties must redraw district maps after population shifts from each Census report.
“By the current numbers, Monroe County doesn’t meet the Department of Justice’s standards and we’re doing this to avoid a lawsuit. By the current numbers, someone is District 1 counts a lot less than in District 4 since there’s such a difference in population,” Brummett said.
Some citizens questioned the balance of minorities versus whites per district.Proposed Supervisors District Map
“We need these districts to live up to the one man-one vote concept. We can’t dilute the minority voting strength and we don’t want a situation fragmenting that population,” Brummett said.
After the board of supervisors approved a final redistricting map, it is sent to the Department of Justice for final approval, which can take as long as 60 days.

About Ray Van Dusen

I've been with the Monroe Journal since Aug. 2009 as a staff writer, but took the role as news editor in late 2012. I'm always looking for interesting story ideas from around Monroe County. You can reach me via email at ray.vandusen@journalinc.com.