Redistricting process will begin soon

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bedford County Administrator of Elections Summer Leverette expects to receive the Census results next month which the county will need to begin the process of drawing new county commission districts.

Leverette discussed the redistricting process during her quarterly report at this month's county commission meeting.

The nine commission districts are used for elected county commission, school board and road board seats, and the county commission also uses them as a basis for appointments to various boards and committees.

As populations change and relocate over time, district lines must be redrawn to ensure that each district includes roughly the same population -- otherwise, some voters would have a greater say in the political process than others. This redistricting is done each 10 years, following the decennial United States Census.

Bedford County Board of Commissioners has the final say on approving new districts. Leverette, using the Census figures, will work with the state Office of Local Government, a division of the state Comptroller of the Treasury's office. OLG will draw up several different options for new districts, each of which has properly-balanced populations based on the new Census figures. Leverette will present these options to the commission, which will choose one for approval.

After districts have been approved, it will be up to Bedford County Election Commission to make any changes in election precincts.

Cities and towns will be responsible for their own redistricting efforts, and the state will have to draw up new districts for the State Senate, the State House and the U.S. House.

At the state level, control has shifted over the past decade, so the new districts will be drawn up by a Republican-controlled General Assembly as opposed to the Democratic one in power a decade ago.