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Floyd County Temporary Redistricting Committee recommends state-drawn supervisor districts

 

Floyd County Temporary Redistricting Committee recommends state-drawn supervisor districts
Floyd County Supervisor Districts

By Bob Steenson, [email protected]

The Floyd County Temporary Redistricting Committee took another step in making new voting precincts and county supervisor districts official this week, voting to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the districts drawn by a state agency.

The action was essentially pro forma and the decision was hardly in doubt.

As committee Vice-Chair Susan Nelson said, “Anything other than proceeding with what the Legislative Services Agency (LSA) came up with is a recipe for chaos.”

County Auditor Gloria Carr said the timing almost required that the map be passed as is, because the filing period for county offices including the new three supervisor districts is in its second week and there have already been people who have taken out papers to to run for supervisor based on the proposed districts, including Jeff Hawbaker, who has turned in papers to run in District 3.

“I can’t imagine us not accepting something like this and then having to tell people, ‘Ah, your papers are no good.’”

The board approved recommending the district and precinct plan to the county board of Supervisors by a 2-0 vote, with Nelson and board member Brian Bierschenk voting yes. Board member Mike Staudt was absent.

The supervisors will likely accept the recommendation and pass a new ordinance setting the new precincts and districts.

The way the state came up with supervisor districts that meet population equality requirements was to join Charles City Precincts 2 and 3 – all residents north of the river – with residents of the north part of St. Charles Township. Splitting townships was not an option available to the Temporary Redistricting Committee when it drew the initial new county precincts.

The supervisors and the Charles City Council will have to approve an agreement allowing the rural residents of St. Charles Township who are in Supervisor District 2 to vote in the city.

Although those rural residents would be voting in Charles City Precinct 3, at Trinity United Methodist Church, any city issues would not be on the ballots they receive.

The Floyd County Supervisors appointed the three members of the Temporary Redistricting Committee last August, but the committee couldn’t start it’s work until November because census information was late from the federal government.

While voting precincts are normally adjusted to account for population changes after a census, the process this time has several extra requirements because for the first time in a long time the county will have individual supervisor districts, instead of each supervisor being elected at large.

Last summer in a special election, the voters approved making  Floyd County a “Plan 3” county, meaning it will be divided into equal-population supervisor districts, candidates must be a resident of the district they are seeking to represent, and only voters living in a district can vote for the supervisor candidates for that district.

The rules for adjusting voting precincts required the Temporary Redistricting Committee to not divide townships, so the precincts they came up with could not be combined with city precincts in any way to meet the requirement that the supervisors districts have equal populations, within 1 percent deviation.

When the state Secretary of State Office and the LSA took over the process, the LSA had the ability to divide townships to meet the equal population rule.

Carr said she had suggested to the Secretary of State Office the idea of joining part of St. Charles Township with the two city precincts.

 

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