Council appoints committee to begin redrawing district boundaries

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Halifax County Commissioners today appointed a committee to oversee the redistribution of their district boundaries due to the results of the 2020 census.

The committee will be made up of Commissioners Rives Manning and Carolyn Johnson, who have been involved in this process in the past, Doris Hawkins, Tax Coordinator, Collector and Geographic Information System Coordinator, Senior Management Analyst Christina Wells and County Attorney Glynn Rollins, who serves as panel chair.

Rollins at today’s board meeting presented the board with information that shows the county’s new population – 48,622 – and the population residing in the county’s three commissioner districts.

The population of District 1, which is served by Johnson, is 15,308. The population of District 2, which is served by John Smith, is 15,601. The population of District 3, which is served by Linda Brewer, is 17,713.

Rollins told the council that the ideal population for the three districts was 16,207, a figure obtained by dividing the 48,622 by three.

Due to some jurisprudence, Rollins has stated that “race and ethnicity, while important, cannot be used as a dominant and determining factor in redistributing district boundaries.”

Census results show that District 1 lacks 899 people while District 2 lacks 606 people. District 3 exceeds the ideal number of 1,500 people.

“What’s going to happen is that if a district has a deviation of plus or minus 5% from the ideal (Districts 1 and 3), we will have to do a redistribution,” Rollins said. “Once we get into this process, our goal is to get the three districts as close to 16,207 as possible.”

While there was a state recommendation that this be done before November 17, that date does not apply to the county because there are no district elections until 2024, Rollins said. .

The redistribution is to be completed 150 days before the 2024 primary. “We are not going to wait that long, but we have time to really do it in a deliberate, transparent way, which we are going to do,” he said. ‘lawyer. “Fortunately, we’re not going to have to make a lot of changes. We need to lose 1,500 people in District 3, we need to gain around 900 people in District 1 and around 600 people in District 2. It’s time to start this process.

Asked by Commissioner Patrick Qualls whether this work could be done internally or through an external company, Rollins said: new lines. We already know where the new lines are.

“We have made a legal description of the lines where they are currently located. It’s just a matter of looking at the census blocks that are around the edges and really the border between the three areas which is on the south side of Roanoke Rapids. You will not find a place to play except in this area. This will involve moving part of the population in this area either to the south-east side or to the south-west side. “

County manager Tony Brown also said the process could be managed internally. “… It’s just a matter of analyzing them (the numbers) and figuring out what needs to go where.” “

Manning recommended that the new lines be placed along permanent boundaries, “on which you can walk and see or put your foot in the creek – permanent boundaries that are separate – not just lines through the woods.” “

Bryant said the process will be transparent and open, along with a public hearing before the commissioners and a public hearing with the committee.

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