Florala explores redistricting

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A new study is under way to decide if Florala must reconfigure its voting districts prior to the next election.

City council members agreed Monday to allow the Southeast Alabama Planning and Development Commission to determine if the newest U.S. Census numbers show a shift in population within the voting districts.

There are currently five voting districts in Florala, each with a single representation on the city council.

Scott Farmer with SEARP&DC said the city documented a 16-person increase from 2000 to 2010.

“The thing is that you want one person, one vote,” Farmer said. “You want each vote to carry the same amount. For example, if you have a district that has 100 people versus another that has 400 in it, the district with 400 is not going to carry the same. Whereas if you had two districts with 200, that vote carries the same weight.”

Farmer said population numbers among districts can differ by 10 percent.

“If any of your districts show that the population has shifted outside that 10 percent difference, it’s a good idea to redistrict,” Farmer said. “There are a lot of principles that can go into redistricting such as race; however, race can’t be the predominant reason for redistricting.

“But if your numbers show you’re within that 10 percent within your districts, there’s no need to go further,” he said.

The city council voted to spend $250 with the SEARP&DC for the initial population analysis, and Farmer said if redistricting is needed, the SEARP&DC will assist the city in the process for an additional $2,250.

In other business, the council:

• recognized the District 3 council seat vacancy and agreed to accept letters of interest for the seat.

-Stephanie Nelson