The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

October 18, 2013

Council districts out of balance

Daviess County officials are taking a look at the county council districts as part of a move toward redistricting. The county council has four district seats and three that are elected at large and it appears the district seats may not be in compliance with federal election law.

A study by DePauw University claims that council districts in Daviess and 85 more of Indiana’s 92 counties are not in compliance. The college posted the results and that caught the attention of the Association of Indiana Counties.

“When we saw this we sent out letters to the counties,” said Director of Governmental Affairs for A.I.C. “The only way to challenge districts is with a lawsuit, but the last thing any county official wants is an election result being thrown out in court.”

The A.I.C. contends the number of counties out of compliance is not nearly as large as DePauw claims. “We began checking and found that some of the counties had already re-drawn their districts, said Berger.

Daviess County is not one of those counties. The study claims Daviess County has not re-drawn the council maps since the 2010 census, has a 38 percent population deviation in districts and has one district that is broken into two pieces.

Those are all things the county will be looking to correct. “The law says the districts should be as equal as possible in population, within a 10 percent margin,” said Berger. “They should also be contiguous and as compact as possible without cutting up precincts. Finally, they should try to not cut up townships.”

The county council was made aware of the issue during its meeting earlier in the week. County Attorney Grant Swartzentruber laid out the issues. “It appears we are out of compliance,” he said. “We need to get with the clerk and get this going and get it done.”

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