Minden Press-Herald

Wednesday
Oct 01st

Jurors pick Plan 6

pjredistrictDemographer Doug Mitchell has approval from the Webster Parish Police Jury to send his new reapportionment plan to the next stage.

At the regularly scheduled meeting earlier this month, Mitchell presented the WPPJ with a new plan, Plan 5; however not everyone was happy with it, and another plan was requested.

When Mitchell presented his new plan during a special meeting Wednesday, Charlie Walker, WPPJ President, asked that each juror state if they were satisfied or not. Each juror expressed approval of the new plan, or Plan 6.

“I just want to make sure no one gets left out, and that we’re all on the same page and happy with this plan,” Walker said.

The parish is undergoing redistricting after last year’s census showed that Webster Parish has decreased in population enough to require district lines be reapportioned.

“This is a common occurrence all through north Louisiana and has been for years,” said Mitchell, who has worked with both the police jury and the school board in redistricting efforts in the past. According to Mitchell, the school board members who have looked at this plan are also satisfied.

“If you look at this plan compared to current district lines, there’s not a whole lot of changes,” Mitchell told the jurors. “It was really just a little tweaking to get this as close to ‘one man, one vote’ as possible. The loss of population in the parish caused us to have to rotate things, mostly in the Minden and Springhill areas.” 

The redistricting plan needs to stay close to a 10 percent deviation in population regulations. Plan 5, was at 11.07 percent deviation and Plan 6 is at 12.5 percent deviation.

Plan 6 calls for moving portions of district 1 to districts 4 and 2, district 3 to 2, district 4 to 3, district 6 to districts 7, 8 and 9, districts 11, 10 and 6 to 7, portions of districts 7,8 and 5 to district 9, districts 6,7 and 9 to 10, parts of districts 10 and 9 to district 8 and parts of district 7 to district 6.

The jury, as well as every governing body in the state, is on a timeline to get the redistricting finished.

“We have to have this qualified by September 6 through 8,” Mitchell explained. “That’s part of the urgency of not only Webster Parish but across the state. This affects all of the state, so it needs to be done before fall elections.”

Timeline for redistricting is as follows:

Jan. 1, 2009 – Dec. 31, 2013: Precinct freeze

Feb. 2, 2011 – Apr. 1, 2011: Expected arrival of Census data (received).

Feb. 2, 2011/Apr. 1, 2011 – Aug. 2, 2011/Aug. 29, 2011: This begins the six-month window for reapportionment.

Aug. 29, 2011: Fifth business day prior to opening of qualifying to have pre-cleared plan for Oct. 22/Nov. 19 election schedule

Sept. 6 – 8, 2011: Qualifying for Oct. 22/Nov. 19 election

What the above timeline means is the jury must have a plan approved and sent to a judge to be accepted by September 8 due to upcoming elections.

Louisiana is subject to Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, meaning that any change with respect to voting cannot legally be enforced unless it is reviewed and approved by the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) to ensure there will be no discrimination in voting in elections.

The police jury and school board entered into a contract with Mitchell to provide specific technical services in conjunction with the redistricting plan of both entities as required by the Voting Rights Act.

The school board is not on the same time limit as the police jury, however, and if they decide not to go along with Plan 6 it will not affect them or the WPPJ.

If the two governing bodies decide to use the same plan –  as they have done in the past – they will pay Mitchell $20,000. If they decide to use different plans, Mitchell will be paid $30,000.

At the meeting for Plan 5, Mitchell also said polling places could be changed in the reapportionment plan. That was brought up because it was proposed that the Webster Parish Alternative School be used as a polling place in lieu of Stewart Elementary School since Stewart is set to be closed under the school board’s new consolidation plan. In Plan 6, no polling places are changed.

However, Mitchell said the state does a “precinct canvassing” for each reapportionment to make sure the plan meets all requirements. That includes providing polling places.

Mitchell said he will send this plan out next week and should find out if it was approved some time in June.

Plan 6: Webster Parish
Overall Deviation – 12.49 Percent

1. District 1 to 4; part of Precinct 2; Total – 33; White – 33; Black – 0
2. District 1 to District 2; part of Precinct 2; Total – 174; White – 174; Black – 75
3. District 3 to District 2; part of Precinct 5; Total – 137; White – 45; Black – 79
4. District 3 to District 2; part of Precinct 7B: Total – 103; White – 93; Black – 7
5. District 4 to District 3; part of Precinct 9; Total – 122; White – 120; Black – 2
6. District 6 to District 7; part of Precinct 31; Total – 262; White – 223; Black – 37
7. District 6 to District 8; part of Precinct 17; Total – 52; White – 48; Black – 4
8. District 6 to District 9; part of Precinct 17; Total – 301; White – 129; Black – 166
9. Distict 11 to District 7; part of Precinct 39; Total – 69; White – 144; Black – 24
10. District 7 to District 9; part of Precinct 24; Total – 55; White – 11; Black – 44
11. District 8 to District 9; part of Precinct 21; Total – 161; White – 61; Black – 98
12. District 5 to District 9; part of Precinct 43; Total – 150; White – 104; Black – 43
13. District 9 to District 10; part of Precinct 23; Total – 404; White – 10; Black – 387
14. District 10 to District 8; part of Precinct 27; Total – 0; White – 0; Black – 0
15. District 9 to District 8; part of Precinct 23; Total – 2; White – 2; Black – 0
16. District 10 to District 7; part of Precinct 25; Total – 71; White – 0; Black – 71
17. District 10 to District 7; part of Precinct 26; Total – 130; White – 117; Black – 9
18. District 6 to District 10; part of Precinct 29; Total – 91; White – 89; Black – 1
19. District 6 to District 7; part of Precinct 31; Total – 97; White – 75; Black – 21
20. District 7 to District 10; part of Precinct 33; Total – 225; Whtie – 207; Black – 16
21. District 7 to District 6; part of Precinct 33; Total – 203; White – 194; Black – 7

 

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