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Less than 'ideal': U.S. Census shows imbalance in Guilford's electoral districts

Less than 'ideal': U.S. Census shows imbalance in Guilford's electoral districts

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GREENSBORO — The Board of Commissioners is working out a plan to redraw Guilford County’s eight electoral districts.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau released in August shows that several districts are out of balance with the “ideal” average in the county, meaning the population has grown or decreased enough that the districts are no longer proportional.

County Attorney Mark Payne told the commissioners at a special work session on Wednesday that “it’s absolutely plain from the 2020 census data that we have to redistrict.”

For example, Payne said that population in District 4, which is largely in rural eastern Guilford County, is small relative to other fast-growing districts and will likely need to be increased. Likewise, he said, District 5 in the growing northwestern part of the county will probably be reduced.

Commissioners will accomplish that by moving precincts from district to district until they can agree on a balance.

The county will soon open a public website where residents can inspect census data and offer their own proposals for redrawing the maps.

Commissioners will look at the most feasible proposals and also consider staff-recommended maps before preparing a draft they can agree on.

Payne said the county must submit its final map to the state by Nov. 18 for approval before next year’s primary elections in the spring and fall’s general elections.

The commissioners agreed to hold another work session on Sept. 16 to set a schedule for the redistricting.

A likely schedule: Commissioners will hold several work sessions in September and have a final proposed map to present at their Oct. 7 meeting. The public would have a chance to inspect the proposed map and the commissioners would hold a public hearing at their Oct. 21 meeting.

The board would likely vote that night on the final version of the map to be submitted to the state.

“We’re going to get lots of input from the public,” Payne said.

Contact Richard M. Barron at 336-373-7371 and follow @BarronBizNR on Twitter.


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