The city council committee launches the redistribution of Charlotte
In July, Mayor Vi Lyles appointed four city council members to the committee, including two executive members and two district members:
The City of Charlotte has also contracted with the Charlotte area law firm Parker Poe and land use planning firm N-Focus to assist with legal, demographic and geographic information system services throughout. long process of redistribution.
Why is Charlotte re-cutting?
Charlotte is redistributing according to the law after a decennial census when the local district’s population numbers changed significantly. These demographic imbalances can run counter to the “one person, one vote” legal principle that all districts have roughly the same population size.
According to approximate local 2020 census data released in August 2021, Charlotte’s total population of 879,188 across seven city council districts is expected to equal approximately 125,298 people per district. However, the populations of the districts are currently:
Why is Charlotte re-cutting now?
The process is now starting because the municipalities can only redesign neighborhoods after a census or an annexation involving a significant change of population. Charlotte last updated its district boundaries after the 2010 census. Over ten years later and based on the most recent census data, the city faces population imbalances between neighborhoods in the province. municipal Council.
What should neighborhoods look like?
Using criteria that city council reviewed on June 28 and which are informed by redistribution efforts after the 2000 and 2010 censuses, the ad hoc redistribution committee on Tuesday approved a set of criteria that will be taken into account during the census. redrawing of district maps.
The most important criteria for redistribution:
- Districts must have a roughly equal population (“one person, one vote” rule).
- Districts should be reasonably compact.
- District boundaries may follow neighborhood boundaries or boundaries of areas containing residents with similar interests.
Criteria of secondary importance for redistribution:
- District boundaries can follow constituency boundaries.
- District boundaries can be drawn taking into account the race of district residents, as long as race is not the predominant motivating factor.
- Districts most likely to be affected by future annexations or growth rates may be smaller to minimize the impact of future annexations on future redistributions.
- The boundaries of the districts can be drawn to avoid conflicts between the incumbents.
Committee members voted on Tuesday to remove two previously discussed criteria related to partisan balance:
- District boundaries can be drawn to create or maintain a representative balance between the major political parties. (This is the only additional criterion recommended by the Citizen’s Advisory Committee on Governance in its 2020 report.)
- Whenever possible, districts should have a relatively even partisan balance.
At the committee meeting on Tuesday, Graham and other committee members said that based on population numbers, it would be nearly impossible for the city to strike a partisan balance and the committee should not create false expectations as to its fulfillment.
Based on the remaining approved criteria and available census data, preliminary advice from city consultants Parker Poe and N-Focus suggests the city could focus on moving part of the population from Districts 2, 3 and 4 to Districts 1, 5 and 6 Due to its location and size – already in general compliance with the required district size – the boundaries of District 7 may remain unchanged.
How will the redistribution affect the city’s next elections?
The US Census Bureau announced earlier this year that the release of 2020 census data would be delayed from March through August and September. The delay pushed statewide redistribution efforts through fall 2021. The North Carolina General Assembly also passed legislation postponing municipal elections until spring 2022.
The Charlotte municipal primary elections will be held on March 8, 2022 and the municipal general election on April 26, 2022.
By law, Charlotte City Council is required to review census data, adopt revised districts as needed, and provide those districts to the Mecklenburg County Electoral Board by November 17. If the city meets this deadline, candidates for district municipal council seats can stand as candidates. from December 6.
The ad hoc redistribution committee and the municipal council work according to the following schedule:
- October 5: The Redistribution Committee will receive comments and comments from the public on the revised and proposed District Plans currently being reviewed by the Committee.
- October 18: City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed revised district plans.
- November 8: City council will vote to adopt revised district maps based on 2020 census data.
- November 12: The city will notify the local electoral council if the final revised maps will be available by November 17.
- November 17: deadline set by the city to provide the adopted district plans to the Election Council, in accordance with the law.
If the city does not provide the electoral board with a redistribution plan by November 17, the new deadline for the city council to adopt and provide revised districts to the electoral board becomes December 17. The opening day for the submission of candidates then moves to January 3, 2022.
How will the city receive public comments?
The public’s contribution is the key to the redistribution. State law requires that municipalities undergoing a redistribution hold a public hearing after the release of the 2020 census data, but before the adoption of the revised districts. The law also states that municipalities can seek public opinion before the release of census data.
The proposed district plans are expected to be available on the city’s website before the October 5 public comment session. Information on how to participate in the public comment session and other public contribution opportunities will be available soon.
“One of my goals as chair of the committee is to be as transparent as possible about what we do when we do it and why we do it,” Graham said at the first committee meeting.