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Even populations and compact boundaries are important concerns in redistricting

By Donna Kelly
Posted Tuesday, July 19, 2011

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Pittsboro, NC - When it comes to redistricting my most important concerns are even populations and boundaries as compact as possible. While it’s important to have representation from each part of the county, currently reflected by residency in separate districts, it’s more important for commissioners to base all decisions on what is best for the county as a whole. This is best reflected by countywide elections. On most issues there is a wide diversity of opinion spread throughout the county so I don’t think any true representation by districts is possible on those issues. All concerns do need to be addressed and balanced as much as possible but commissioners shouldn’t make decisions based on what’s best for their district if it’s at the expense of the rest of the county.

It’s not feasible to draw lines that would protect all ten incumbents from both boards

The most important issue is to keep the district lines as compact as possible so people can clearly see which district they are in. Hopefully the precinct lines will be redrawn as well to coincide with the new district lines where possible. The primary goal of any political process should be to encourage more involvement and the best way to do that is to keep things as simple and straightforward as possible.

With these things in mind I’d rank Option 2 as my first choice, followed closely by Option 1 with Option 3 as a distant third choice. Although it would be nice to keep Siler City in one district it makes for rather strange lines. Also, District 1 is more compact in Option 2.

Option 3 has three very oddly shaped districts rather than one oddly shaped district in the other choices so that’s why I’d rank it a distant third.

The Board of Commissioners should solicit input from the Board of Education since they’re considering using the same districts, but it’s not feasible to draw lines that would protect all ten incumbents from both boards, especially when the current BOE districts are so unbalanced. While protecting incumbents is one way to avoid controversy I’m not sure it’s really desirable to base districts that affect the entire county on where ten people happen to live at this time.

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