06/07/11 — Wayne County plans redistricting hearing for this Thursday

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Wayne County plans redistricting hearing for this Thursday

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 7, 2011 1:46 PM

Wayne County residents Thursday evening will have the opportunity to learn about and to offer comments and suggestions on how the county's voting district lines will be redrawn because of changes and shifts in the county's population.

Demographer Bobby Bowers of South Carolina, who has been retained by the county to assist commissioners in preparing the new districts, will conduct the meeting, which will start at 6:30 p.m. in Courtroom No. 1 in the county courthouse annex, 224 E. Walnut St.

Bowers is familiar with the county, having worked on its past two redistrictings. He also is working on the city of Goldsboro's redistricting.

Redrawing the district lines for county commissioners and school board could take up to a year, but the process is not expected to delay the next county election scheduled in 2012.

Commissioners would approve the changes in the district line. However, U.S. Justice Department approval is required as well.

According to Census data, the county's population grew from 113,335 in 2000 to 122,623 in 2010. Most of the population growth has been in the northern part of the county.

To meet the federal one-person, one-vote mandate, the districts have to be roughly the same size in population. Dividing the population count of 122,623 by 6 (the number of districts) equates to 20,437 people per district.

The population growth and shifts in which areas of the county people live will require that three of the county's six voting districts give up residents while the other three will need to add more people to meet the federal one-person, one-vote standard.

Based on 20,437 people per district:

* District 1 represented by Andy Anderson would have to give up 4,169.

* District 2, one of two minority districts, represented by J.D. Evans would have to add 4,479.

* District 3, another minority district, represented by John Bell would have to add 2,891.

* District 4 represented by Steve Keen would have to give up 2,633.

* District 5 represented by Bud Gray would have to give up 2,607.

* District 6 represented by Jack Best would have to add 2,038.

County Attorney Borden Parker has told commissioners that the first thing the districts must have are basic equality in size to comply with the one-person, one-vote mandate. Secondly, the county must determine if it is possible to have minority districts.

Thursday's public meeting is expected to be one of several held during the redistricting to keep the public aware of what is going on. Also, proposed district maps will be on display in county offices and on the county website at www.waynegov.com.

For more information contact Marcia R. Wilson, clerk to the board of county commissioners, at 731-135 or send e-mail to Marcia.Wilson@ waynegov.com.