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Chatham County commissioners seek input on proposed redistricting plan

Posted Tuesday, May 17, 2011

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Pittsboro, NC - At its May 16 meeting, the Chatham County Board of Commissioners voted to hold a public hearing on June 20, 2011, on a proposed redrawing of county commissioner election districts based on population changes reflected in the official 2010 Census. The hearing is slated for the Agriculture Auditorium in Pittsboro at 6 pm.

Commissioner Chairman Brian Bock and Vice Chairman Walter Petty had worked with county geographic information systems mapping staff to produce a draft plan based on Census data that redraws the five districts based on population, while ensuring that towns were not split between districts. “Each proposed district represents 12,700 citizens plus or minus three percent, even though the law allows a greater deviation,” Bock said.

Bock said that several other guiding principles used in developing the plan, included using major roads, rivers, townships lines or other major geographic features as boundaries whenever feasible. Sometimes that isn’t possible since the census tracks don’t always follow these boundaries.

Another factor included not pitting two or more current commissioners against each other by placing them in the same district. Bock noted that a related issue was keeping the same election cycle for incumbent commissioners, so that the end of their existing terms would not change.

Bock added, “An important factor was creating districts that would not have to be redrawn if the county opted to switch to a form of district voting in the future without requiring further redistricting.”

The proposed plan does not address the issue of changing the county’s form of electing commissioners. “Since county voters rejected changing to a pure commissioner district election format in 2006, we did not want to change the form of government until voters can decide. The next chance for a countywide vote on this issue would be the 2012 election,” Bock said. If voters approved a change in 2012, it would not take effect until the 2014 election of county commissioners.

Based on 2010 Census figures, current commissioner district populations range from 10,957 for District 5 to 17,099 for District 1. Under the proposed new plan, the district populations range from 12,473 for District 4 to 12,996 for District 2, a much smaller deviation between districts.

Below are links to the proposed plan with population information and the current district plan with updated population information.

PROPOSED COMMISSIONER DISTRICT PLAN: Shows the breakdown of population based on 2010 Census. Click here to view.

CURRENT COMMISSIONER DISTRICT PLAN: Updated to show current districts' populations based on 2010 Census.Click here to view.

To sign up for the hearing, call 919-542-8200 or submit an online signup form.

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Chatham County commissioners seek input on proposed redistricting plan

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