How will county redraw lines?

Published 12:01 am Thursday, July 14, 2016

Recently, the Covington County Commission agreed to ask the legislature to change the procedure by which future commissioners are elected from at-large to district voting.


On Wednesday, commissioners learned a little bit more about that process.


Scott Farmer of Southeast Alabama Regional Planning Commission, which the commission is paying to draw district lines, explained that ideally, the county would be divided into four equal districts based on total population, not upon registered voters.


Using the county’s 2010 Census population (37,765) as a base, the county would have four districts with 9,441 residents each. However, the law allows a 10 percent deviation in each district, so population could range from 8,969 to 9,913 in each district.


Farmer said that until 2013, districts had to be approved by the Department of Justice as part of the Voting Rights Act. However, in 2013 in Shelby County v. Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the formula used for determining jurisdictions. Because Congress has not established a new formula, preclearance is not currently required.


Farmer said he would begin with the Census map and current district lines to determine the population of each. He said he also would look at the possibility of preserving municipal boundaries.


According to the 2010 Census, Andalusia had a population of 9,015 and Opp had a population of 6,659.


The redistricting would have to be completed 180 days prior to the 2020 primary election.