New Castle County is making progress toward redrawing its councilmanic districts, with data from the 2020 Census that shows population growth.
Under state law, council districts in New Castle County must be contiguous. They need to contain as close to equal population as possible, but can deviate from the average by up to 15%.
It’s no surprise the new 2020 population counts show growth in the southern part of the county. The eight northernmost districts now have fewer residents than the average district, and the four southern-most districts have more.
The 12th district—on the eastern side of southern New Castle County and represented by Bill Bell—breaks the 15% rule, with a population now 34% higher than the average.
County Redistricting Commission chair Ted Blunt said at the group’s Tuesday meeting the 12th and 6th districts will be the focus.
“The goal would be hopefully to keep the districts pretty much intact, that would be my goal, and not to be disruptive to any of the districts,” he said. “But ... I think it will be disruptive when you lose 10,000 people, and you’re a representative, that’s just the reality.”
Vince D’Anna, the at-large member of the Redistricting Commission, noted that four of County Council’s twelve districts now have majority residents of color.
“Kind of profound that we now have four majority-minority districts. We had two before,” he said. “I would assume that would be one of the things we’d be sensitive to, as far as the guiding principles.”
Districts 4, 7, 10 and 11 all have fewer than 50% white residents, according to census data provided by New Castle County Council staff.
Blunt asked the state Department of Elections, which gives technical support, to present the group with some options for how to redraw the districts at its next meeting.