County Commission Members To Get Underway On Redistricting Next Wednesday; Pledge Transparent Process; Graham Asks 18 Commissioners

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

County Commission members will get to work on the redistricting process next Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

Sabrina Smedley, chairperson, said all of the meetings will be open to the public and will be held in the regular County Commission meeting room at the County Courthouse. She said, "In my mind that's the only way to do it."

She said they will be on dates other than the regular commission sessions. Next Wednesday had been set to be an off day for the panel.

Scott Allen, election administrator, urged the commission to expedite the process. He said once his office gets the redrawn precinct lines from Hamilton County GIS that it will need at least 2-3 weeks to redraw the precincts to correspond with the new boundaries.

He said the first day that candidates can pick up papers for the 2022 elections is Dec. 20, so the process should be completed by then "so we can get out the information to the voters and the candidates."

Mr. Allen said his office needs the data by around the first of December.

He said the county now has 135 precincts and 67 polling places. He said during the process it is hoped to eliminate some precincts "to get closer to the number of actual polling places." Mr. Allen said it is necessary to staff some tiny precincts with the minimum four poll workers.

Jason Shaneyfelt of county GIS said with nine commission districts the average population in each would be 40,690. He said the standard for maximum deviation among precincts is not more than 10 percent. Commissioner Tim Boyd interjected that it can be higher than 10 percent if there is a geographic constraint such as a river or mountain. He noted the county has both.

Much of the population growth since the census 10 years ago has occurred in Districts 7, 8 and 9 so those districts will have to be pared down.

Former County Commissioner Joe Graham told commissioners it should consider having 18 commission districts rather than nine. He said no other county in the state has above 20,000 residents per commissioner.

He said over 40,000 residents is too many to keep up with for a single commissioner.

He said the county is allowed to have between nine and 25 commissioners.

District  Population   Deviation %      White                     Black             Other         Hispanic

1           36,826         - 9.5%         33,236 (90.25%)   792 (2.15%)  2,798 (7.6%) 1,178 (3.2%)

2           36,713         -9.77%        31,826 (86.69%) 1,380 (3.76%) 3,507 (9.55%) 1,624 (4.42%)  

3           40,524         -0.41%       33,530 (82.74%) 2,480 (6.12%) 4,514 (11.14%) 1,930 (4.76%)

4           35,710       -12.24%    10,060  (28.17%)   17,469 (48.92%) 8,181 (22.91%) 7,331 (20.53%)

5           36,614    -10.02%      12,151  (33.19%)    20,489 (55.96%)  3,974 (10.85%) 2,514 (6.87%)

6           39,150    -3.78%        30,436 (77.74%)   4,811 (12.29%)   3,903 (9.97%)   1,794 (4.58%)

7           47,591     +16.96%    35,482 (74.56%)   4,945 (10.39%)   7,164 (15.05%)  3,464 (7.23%)

8          44,140       +8.48%    28,635  (64.87%)   7,591 (17.20%)   7,914 (17.93%)   4,908 (11.12%)

9         48,939        +20.27     39,447 (80.60%)   4,471  (9.14%)    5,021 (10.26%)   2,332 (4.77%)


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