RCCC to host redistricting meeting

Published 11:10 am Friday, April 15, 2011

AHOSKIE – Working with numbers generated by the recently completed U.S. Census, North Carolina lawmakers are now charged with the task of reshaping the state’s voting districts.

The North Carolina General Assembly will conduct public hearings at sites across the state to accept public comment on the redistricting process for the State House, State Senate and U.S. Congressional districts. One such hearing will be held locally at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 21 in room 126 of the Jernigan Building at Roanoke-Chowan Community College.

Members of the public may comment on the current district plans, communities of interest, voting history, or any other topic related to redistricting. Each speaker is limited to five (5) minutes. Speakers are encouraged to submit their oral comments in writing. Persons proposing plans are encouraged to provide maps and any supporting data.

Those wishing to address the redistricting issue can register at the site beginning one hour prior to the opening of the hearing. They can also choose to register online, which opens Saturday, April 16 and closes 24 hours in advance of the 7 p.m. public hearing at RCCC. To register online, visit www.ncleg.net and click on the Redistricting Information link.

Speakers will be called according to the order of registration. If a speaker is not present when called, the speaker will be skipped at that time. Time permitting at the end of all registered speakers, those skipped will be allowed to speak.

Questions about the public hearings may be directed to Erika Churchill or Kelly Quick at 919-733-2578. Persons desiring to submit written comments to be included in the public record may send those comments to:

Redistricting Committee

300 N. Salisbury Street

Suite 545 Legislative Office Building

Raleigh, NC 27603

Currently, the Roanoke-Chowan area is represented in the NC House by Annie Mobley of Ahoskie (District 5, which includes Bertie, Gates and Hertford counties) and Michael Wray of Gaston (District 27 which includes Northampton County). Ed Jones of Enfield represents all four local counties in the NC Senate. G.K. Butterfield of Wilson serves the R-C area as its U.S. Congressman.

Redistricting is performed every 10 years. It is necessary due to population growth as well as geographical shifts in population. With North Carolina gaining in excess of 1.5 million new citizens over the last 10 years, some areas of the state grew in number of residents, thus resulting in the need for more representation in state government. That causes voting districts to be reconfigured.

In order to meet voting guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Justice, North Carolina lawmakers say that the ideal population of a voting district is 79,462 for the NC House; 190,710 for the NC Senate and 733,499 for the U.S. Congress.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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