Approved county redistrict plan splits Precinct 12 only

Alisa Boswell

Roosevelt County Commissioners have approved a redistricting plan that splits Precinct 12 in half to balance District 1 and 2 populations in the county.

The county’s consultant, Research & Polling Project Manager Brad Morrison, said the change approved Sept. 6 does will not affect commissioners in the next election.

Precinct 12 was split at the intersection of East Seventh Street and South Chicago Avenue.

“If we were to try to put the whole population of Precinct 12 into District 1, it would have been overpopulated,” Morrison said. “We split a precinct because we had to. No matter how many ways we looked at it, we were going to have to split a precinct.”

Morrison said all three of the plans he presented to commissioners split a precinct, because District 2 was overpopulated while District 1 was under populated, so his team had to move some District 2 population into District 1.

Plan B split Precinct 18 while Plan C split Precinct 2 but commissioners chose Plan A for the county.

“It seemed the simplest and the easiest one that would best suit the county. We felt like it would only change lines a little and it would change them for the better,” said County Commissioner Bill Cathey. “There’s some people who live closer to Dora, yet they were in the Elida district so they would have to go all the way to Elida to vote. This plan just allowed for more convenient voting and it makes it easier to understand the boundary lines because they’re drawn more straight.”

Morrison said the main goal with redistricting is to keep equal populations within each district.

Morrison offered commissioners three redistricting options.

He said the ideal population number for each district was 3,969 and the goal was to remain within 5 percent, plus or minus, of that goal within each district.

“That’s why we had to split a precinct; was in order to make equal population,” Morrison said. “One of my goals, if I don’t hear from the commissioners or anyone in the public, is to make changes that make the most sense and have the least effect on the community.”

Morrison said redistricting officials try to stay away from splitting precincts as much as possible, but there are times when it is necessary in order to maintain even population between the districts.

“What we do initially is take the current plan and update it with the 2010 Census data to see how the county breaks out with population and where the population has changed,” Morrison said of the process. “We know based on that what the adjustments are that we need to make. From there, it becomes a puzzle. And the building blocks to that puzzle are the precincts.”