Florala voting districts change

Published 12:26 am Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Those casting a ballot in Florala’s upcoming municipal election could be voting in a different district under the city’s new redistricting plan. That also holds true for anyone seeking a seat on the city council.

A shift in population was discovered during the 2010 Census, which meant that the city’s voting districts needed restructuring to ensure each vote carried the same weight. Population numbers among districts can differ by 10 percent.

“Remember, it’s one person, one vote,” said Scott Farmer with the Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission as he presented the plan last year. “You want everyone’s vote to count the same. 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.”

City council members approved the plan last July, which has been granted clearance by the U.S. Department of Justice in March.

City Clerk Kathy Rathel said copies of the new district maps will be available starting next week at city hall, the public library, the senior citizens’ center and at Florala Utilities; however, a preliminary copy can be viewed on The Star-News website. (For the web: by clicking here.)

“Anyone needing to verify their district can call me here at city hall if needed,” Rathel said. “We did publish the approved ordinance and the new map in The Florala News on Sept. 14, but people are sure to have questions.”

Rathel said the redistricting did not affect any of current council members, all of whom remain in their same districts.

Qualifying for candidates begins on July 3 and continues through 5 p.m. on July 17. At present, no one in Florala has officially announced their intent to seek office.

This year’s election is set for Aug. 28, with an Oct. 9 runoff date, if needed.