Following the 202 Census, the word redistricting has been heard frequently. Locally, the Pierce County Redistricting Subcommittee met this week.
What is redistricting?
Redistricting equalizes representation by population.
Elected officials are organized into districts, or the areas of which they represent, and only residents of a given district can vote for their representative.
For example, River Falls is part of Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional district, which extends down to La Crosse. Rep. Ron Kind was re-elected in 2020. Wisconsin has eight districts, each of which represented about 708,000 in 2021, but the state population rose a quarter million -- primarily in urban centers. Some district lines, therefore, must be adjusted.
Local and state districts also require equal representation.
Redistricting is how those districts change on a map and it’s not a quick process.
When does redistricting happen?
Often, redistricting will happen subsequent to a census cycle, which happens every 10 years. The last census took place in 2010 and was scheduled to be completed again in 2020.
Due to the pandemic, many operations were delayed. U.S. Census Bureau delivered some data for states to begin the redistricting process on Aug. 12, 2021.
Pierce County districts
Currently, Pierce County has 17 supervisory districts. The Pierce County Redistricting Committee voted on Aug. 18 to recommend remaining at that current number. After receiving data stating a 1,193, 2.9%, population increase over 10 years, the committee did not see a need to add additional representation at the county level.
Pierce County timeline
The redistricting committee also voted to move forward with the suggested 2021 County and Municipal Redistricting timeline;
Aug. 23, data is transmitted to counties to begin drafting a tentative redistricting plan.
Sept. 15, counties will contemporaneously hold hearings to adopt a tentative plan and transmit that plan to municipalities. After receiving the county’s tentative supervisory district plan, municipalities will adjust ward boundaries.
Oct. 18, municipalities will transmit ward plans back to counties. The common council of every city must redistrict the boundaries of its aldermanic districts through an ordinance introduced at a regular council meeting. It must then be adopted by a majority vote of all members of the council.
Nov. 3-10, adopt aldermanic district plans.
By moving forward with this tentative plan, the committee aims to have things in place for the spring 2022 election. The timeline expectations will be communicated to the finance personal committee and local municipalities.