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Politics & Government

New Castle County starts redistricting process after 2020 Census

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Sophia Schmidt
/
Delaware Public Media
Voters wait in line at a polling place in New Castle County

New Castle County has kicked off its redistricting process. 

The state and New Castle County redraw legislative and councilmanic districts every 10 years, using new population counts from the U.S. Census. 

The County’s Redistricting Commission met for the first time Monday,  to set ground rules for the group and plan a meeting schedule. The group can’t start its work in earnest until the U.S. Census Bureau delivers detailed population data from the 2020 Census to states. This was delayed because of the pandemic, and is expected to happen in mid-August. 

Robert Hicks, a resident of Salem Woods, requested the commission keep his community within a single district. 

“We’ve had times in the past when the Salem Woods development … has been split between two districts,” he said. “It would be really good for Salem Woods to stay together. We … do just about everything together.”

Terry Wright, who represents the Eighth Councilmanic District on the Commission, called for more public input like this.

“I would just encourage anybody in the public to come to these meetings, call us, either as individuals or members of the commission and give us these suggestions,” he said. “Because there’s not a one of us that knows everything about every neighborhood in this county.”

Under state code, representative and senatorial districts must be contiguous, of nearly equal population and bounded by major roads, streams or other natural boundaries. They cannot be created to “unduly favor” any person or political party.

Councilmanic districts in New Castle County must also be contiguous. They must contain equal population “as nearly as possible,”  but can deviate from the average population of all districts by up to 15%. 

The New Castle County Redistricting Commission has 90 days to finish its work, and gets technical support from the state Department of Elections.

The General Assembly scheduled a special session this fall for redrawing state legislative districts, because of the Census delay.

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