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Politics & Government

Proposed Sussex County district maps released for public comment

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Milton Pratt
/
Delaware Public Media

New district maps for Sussex County were released this week, and the county is looking for the public’s input.

Sussex County has seen the largest jump in population in Delaware, with an extra 40,000 people coming into the county, mostly in Eastern Sussex County.

County Attorney Everett Moore led the work on drawing new maps, and says a big priority was maintaining communities of interest, such as school districts.

“Municipalities and communities tend to be bonded to their school districts,” Moore said. “Unfortunately the school districts geography cannot be used in exact fashion, especially in the eastern part of the county — with larger districts and population distribution.”

Moore says public involvement has been a major factor in designing the new districts.

“We’ve looked at and listened to what the public was saying, we’re continuing that process,” he said.

Some Sussex County districts need to change significantly to meet a growing population on the Eastern shore. District 5 moved from the southern region to represent the center of the county, encompassing Georgetown and Millsboro.

Moore says inspiration for the maps was largely drawn from a League of Women Voters proposal and the layout of county school districts, He says school districts are often vital to a community and should be preserved in the same election district as much as possible.

The county continues to accept public comment on the proposed maps through January 7th, before finalizing them and looking to approve them early next year. The county council will also hold a public hearing on the final maps in February.

Residents can find the maps on the county’s website, which highlights changes made from maps proposed by the League of Women Voters, and where efforts were made to preserve communities of interest.

The county offers a few avenues to submit comments, via email to redistricting@sussexcountyde.gov, by mail to Clerk of the Council, PO Box 589, Georgetown, DE 19947.

The website outlining the redistricting process also offers a form that people can use to submit comments online.

Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.