Thu04242014

Last updateTue, 04 Nov 2014 9pm

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County to redraw election districts

The King George Board of Supervisors last week spent portions of two work session meetings reviewing several different mapping options for redrawing election districts to conform to population shifts from the 2010 census. (see redistricting maps here)

As a result of deliberations, supervisors selected an option and authorized it for advertisement for

revising election districts, with a public hearing on the proposal scheduled for April 19.

The plan was to get the same basic configuration for the districts, but get them as equal as possible for population.

The options were presented by county GIS coordinator Kyle Conboy and had been worked up in coordination with Registrar Lorrie Gump, with advice from Matt Britton, county attorney and Commonwealth’s Attorney.

The map of the selected option is available for viewing on our website, journalpress.com, along with the current map of existing election districts.

Redistricting is required after each census to reallocate and reapportion the population count by redrawing election district boundary lines.

King George is broken up into four election districts and one at-large, which represents the entire county. The others are named Shiloh, Dahlgren, James Monroe and James Madison, with Madison divided into two voting precincts — Courthouse and Passapatanzy.

Under federal law, election districts are to be redrawn to balance several competing legal requirements and interests, including population equality, compactness, contiguity, avoiding splits of political subdivisions and precincts, preserving communities of interest, preserving the basic shape of existing districts, political fairness, voter convenience and effective administration of elections, continuing minority voting strength and keeping staggered terms. 

As noted, election districts are to be drawn to have nearly equal numbers of people, whether adults or children, voters or non-voters. They must also contain a minimum of 100 voters and a maximum of 5,000 voters in each district.

CENSUS POPULATION
King George grew from a population of 16,803 in the 2000 census to a population of 23,584 in the latest census last year.

Dividing the county population by four for the number of election districts, equal population would mean 5,896 people in each.

The redistricting option up for consideration would provide less than 1 percent deviation between districts, with 5,946 people in Shiloh, 5,850 in Dahlgren, 5,895 in Monroe and 5,893 in Madison.

The map also contains figures for census racial breakdowns, with both numbers and statistics provided. With the option under consideration, both Shiloh and Dahlgren would be considered “minority opportunity” districts with both having slightly more than 23 percent African Americans, which is the largest majority-minority in the county.

CENSUS BLOCKS
The main problem in redrawing districts was working with new census blocks that were devised by the federal government with no apparent rhyme or reason.

The census blocks for King George grew from 344 in 2000 to 911 in 2010.

It’s unknown as to how those were devised for the county by census officials. The shapes of the various census blocks are often incongruous and do not depend on the number of people living in them. Some have several hundred people and some have only a couple.

View the current and proposed election district maps.

Phyllis Cook

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