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28
Sep

DOUGLAS COUNTY PROPOSES COMMISSION DISTRICT RE-DISTRICTING MAP FOR PUBLIC COMMENT

Public Hearing on Proposed Maps Scheduled for Tuesday, November 1st, Commission Meeting

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners is advertising a proposed redistricting of its four Commission districts in response to the 2010 Census results.  Counties throughout the Nation are required to adjust district boundaries to reflect population changes, and each district has a goal of being within five percent in population of the exact division of population.

The 2010 Census population for Douglas County was 132,400.  The perfect division of the population into the four Commission districts would be 33,100.

However, strictly and blindly dividing the County into four districts could divide neighborhoods, split precincts, and become confusing.  The goals of the Board of Commissioners in developing the new map were:

  • eliminate split precincts, i.e., precincts serving two or more Commission districts;
  • maintain current precinct boundaries
  • set district populations less than the five percent Federal requirement, and within about three percent of each other;
  • keep the current Commissioners in their current districts;
  • keep neighborhoods and subdivisions together in the same Commission district; and
  • keep development corridors, such as Chapel Hill Road, Thornton Road, Riverside Parkway, etc., in the same Commission district.

Prior to this proposed map, the Tributary planned unit development was in two Commission districts; the Chapel Hills Subdivision was in two Commission districts; Thornton Road was in two Commission districts; and Chapel Hill Road was in two Commission districts.  Each of these are now being proposed to be self-contained within one Commission district.

Prior to this proposed map, the Lutheran Church precinct was split between Commission Districts 2 and 3; the Dorsett Shoals Elementary precinct was split between Commission Districts 3 and 4; and the Bill Arp precinct was split between Commission Districts 3 and 4.  All of these precincts are now proposed to be totally contained within District 3.

The proposed map makes the following precinct changes in line with the goals of the redistricting to keep neighborhoods together, subdivisions together, development corridors together, and current Commissioners in their districts:

  • Douglasville precinct moves from Commission District 2 to Commission District 1;
  • Boundary Waters precinct moves from Commission District 3 to Commission District 2;
  • Factory Shoals precinct moves from Commission District 3 to Commission District 2;
  • Colonial Hills precinct moves from Commission District 1 to Commission District 2; and
  • Douglasville First Baptist precinct moves from Commission District 2 to Commission District 3.

The proposed map has the following populations:

Commission District Population Perfect Division Population Population Variance Percentage Variance
1 33,890 33,100 +790 +2.39%
2 33,843 33,100 +743 +2.24%
3 32,515 33,100 -585 -1.67%
4 32,152 33,100 -943 -2.87%
Average Deviation 2.29%
Average Allowed Deviation 5.00%

The current Commission districts have an average deviation of 7.89% with the highest single deviation being in Commission District 3 with 12.3%.

The proposed map has the following population composition:

Commission District Population Caucasian Caucasian Percentage African-American African-American Percentage Hispanic-Latino Hispanic-Latino Percentage
1 33,890 14,165 41.80% 15,539 45.85% 4,186 12.35%
2 33,843 11,387 33.65% 19,444 57.44% 3,012 8.90%
3 32,515 19,249 59.20% 11,117 34.19% 2,149 6.60%
4 32,152 22,224 69.12% 8,153 25.36% 1,778 5.53%
Totals 132,400 67,025 50.62% 54,253 40.98% 11,125 8.40%

The Georgia General Assembly Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Commission proposed the first Douglas County redistricting map, but it strictly and blindly proposed new Douglas County Commission Districts without considering the Douglas County goals to keep neighborhoods together, subdivisions together, development corridors together, and current Commissioners in their districts.  In addition, input is required by local governments in the development of these maps, and the Douglas County Board of Commissioners has made the proposed changes.  The difference in the Georgia-proposed map and the Board of Commissioners-proposed map are not significant.

The Board of Commissioners-proposed map has been reviewed by the Georgia General Assembly Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Commission and it stated that the proposed map looks good for pre-clearance by the State.  The State of Georgia is a Section 5 Covered Jurisdiction under the Voting Rights Act so the maps must be approved by the United States Department of Justice before they can become effective.  Sections 2 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act essentially require that, if a district can be drawn using contiguous neighborhoods and communities that have a majority of minorities, then a district must be drawn that way so that a minority candidate has a reasonable chance to be elected based on the percentage of population.

In Douglas County, Commission Districts 1 and 2 are currently represented by Commissioners who are considered a minority race.  The proposed map keeps Commission Districts 1 and 2 with a majority of minority population, i.e., the combination of African-American and Hispanic-Latino population is greater than that of the Caucasian population.

The proposed Commission District map is being advertised for public comment for the calendar period ending Tuesday, November 1st, 2011, when a Public Hearing will be held on the proposed map during the Board of Commissioners’ regular legislative meeting at 10 a.m. in Citizen’s Hall of the Douglas County Courthouse.  The Public is invited and encouraged to participate in this Public Hearing.

The proposed maps are available for viewing and comment through Monday, October 31st, at the Douglas County and Lithia Springs Public Libraries and the Douglas County Courthouse, and are downloadable from the Douglas County web site at www.CelebrateDouglasCounty.com under the “Research” section. The map delineated by the Georgia General Assembly Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Commission as well as a more detailed map developed by the Douglas County Geographic Information Systems Department are posted on the web site.

Once a final map is adopted by the Board of Commissioners, a bill will be presented by a member of the local legislative delegation to the 2012 Georgia General Assembly to approve the map.  Once approved, the map is sent to the U. S. Department of Justice for approval under the Voting Rights Act.  Once the map is cleared by the Department of Justice, Douglas County will inform all citizens of changes that affect their polling places or District Commissioner representation.

The 2012 County elections will be held using the map approved by the U. S. Department of Justice.

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