Right now, various political wonks and others with a vested interest in how elections turn out are creating proposed new Guilford County commissioner districts using the tools at https://redistricting.guilfordcountync.gov/.
They have until the end of September to turn those in. Then a Democratic-majority Guilford County Board of Commissioners will have to select a map that can gain approval from the Republican-led state legislature.
No one knows yet which map will be adopted. However, county officials have now posted a checklist of what they’re looking for in a new district layout.
The key criterion is that the eight districts must all be within 10 percent of one another in terms of population, but there are plenty of other criteria in addition to the population consideration.
Here’s a list the county put out as guiding principles that will be used to evaluate redistricting options:
- Fair and Balanced
- Compliance with Applicable Law
- Equal Population Distribution
- Contiguity, Compactness
- Preservation of Precinct and Political Boundaries
- Preservation of Communities of Interest
- Preservation of Cores of Prior Districts
- Avoiding Pairing of Incumbents
- Competitiveness and Proportionality.
So, keep all those in mind as you make your maps.
As to the first standard – fair and balanced – Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston told the Rhino Times earlier this summer that the map that ultimately comes out of Guilford County must be fair because it has to be signed off on by the state legislature.
County residents and other interested parties are being encouraged to participate in the process by drawing new district lines and providing those maps, and by making comments on other proposals.
At the website, the public can find more guidance on how to submit maps, as well as a link to “Dave’s Redistricting App” (DRA 2020) – the county’s preferred platform for the public to use to create and turn in the maps. The app is meant to help people “create, view, analyze and share redistricting maps for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.”
County leaders also explained in a press release that redistricting determines “which neighborhoods and communities are grouped together into a district for purposes of electing a board member.”
Typically, these lines will be in effect until the next ten-year census.
The public will have a chance – over the next several weeks – to prepare and submit redistricting proposals, review those submitted by others, and offer comments to the Board of Commissioners.
There is no way to comply with all this. Just close your eyes, throw a dart, and hope.
What I find reprehensible is the bullet point of . . . . .”Avoiding Pairing of Incumbents”. That’s blatant favoritism for incumbency which I’m sure was one point they wanted inserted in the “principles”.