County Population Increase Means Election District Changes

Information recently released from the U.S. 2010 Census shows that Clarke County has gotten a little more crowded over the last decade. Aside from more cars on the road and longer lines and the check-out counter, the population boom also means that election voting districts have to be reviewed and, if necessary, redrawn to ensure that all districts hold a similar number of voters.

The Clarke County Board of Supervisors got their first look at proposed election district changes, commonly referred to as re-districting, on Monday.

Clarke County’s population increased from 12,652 to 14,034, an 11.4% increase over the previous census count in 2000. Federal election law mandates that the number of voters assigned to each election district be computed by totaling all election districts and then dividing the total voter population by the number of voting districts, five in the case of Clarke County.

Using the election district voter formula, each Clarke County voting district must contain 2807 based on the new census figures. ( Election Districts are allowed to vary by plus or minus five percent (2667 to 2947 voters)

On Monday Clarke County Planning Administrator Chuck Johnston presented the Supervisors with maps showing voting district changes that will meet the letter of voting laws. It will be up to the Supervisors to determine the final election district boundaries.

“Virginia law requires Election District Boundaries to be ‘clearly defined and clearly  observable boundaries’” Johnston said. “This section defines “clearly observable boundary” to include roads, rivers, and other perm anent physical features recognized on official maps. Several segments of  the Berryville Election District boundaries followed the Town corporate limits in 2001. Town  corporate limits have changed since 2001 and the expansions of the Berryville Election District  are shifts away from former corporate boundaries to new corporate boundaries or specific  physical features.”

According to Johnston, the Berryville, Buckmarsh and Russell voting districts now exceeds the voter target range while Millwood and White Post fall below the required voter threshold.

Election Population Adjustment
District 2000 Increase 2010 Areas NEW % from mean
Berryville 2631 +712 3343 – 451 – 85 + 18 + 17 + 10 2852 + 1.6%
Buckmarsh 2488 +376 2864 – 10 2854 + 1.7%
Millwood 2518 +106 2624 – 81 + 142 + 85 – 18 – 17 2735 -2.6%
Russell 2429 +158 2587 – 142 + 451 2896 + 1.7%
White Post 2586 +30 2616 + 81 2697 – 3.9%
Mean 2807
-5% 2667
+5% 2947

However, drawing new district voting lines are only part of the challenge facing the county’s Supervisors. With fall elections approaching, candidates face petition filing deadlines that require signatures from voters in the candidate’s election district.

Knowing exactly where each district’s boundaries are could mean the difference between having a valid filing petition and not. Several steps, including certification by the U.S. Department of Justice, must occur before the new district lines are finalized. At Monday’s meeting, Supervisors discussed a target submission to the Department of Justice for May, 2011. DOJ will then have 60 days to review the new district lines before responding.

“The deadline for filing a nomination petition is August 23rd” General Registrar Barbara B. Bosserman told the Supervisors. “We need to have everything approved by the Department of Justice before I can certify the nominees.

Clarke County’s Primary Election is currently scheduled for August 23, 2011 with the General/Special Election locked in for November 8, 2011.

Proposed election district changes are shown below:

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  1. So Byrd is gaining Berryville residents. Bye bye, Barb!
    Staelin is getting Berryville residents too! By by, John!
    Unfortunately, White Post is getting Millwood residents, so Pete’s crony has a chance. I sure hope the influx of Berryville Residents will change the face of the BOS completely!

  2. Tony Parrott says:

    Looks like I’m moving over to White Post. 🙂