On the Web
A copy of the map showing the proposed changes to district lines can be viewed on the Forsyth County Web site at http://www.forsythco.com/pdf/NewsDocs/FinalProposed_150.pdf
As Forsyth County’s population changes, so too must its districts.
County officials have created a map of proposed commission and school board district lines, which will be the subject of a public hearing at 5 p.m. Thursday.
County Attorney Ken Jarrard said redistricting is required since the results of the 2010 U.S. Census have been released.
"The bottom line is the Constitution requires that as close as we can get it, the districts of elected officials need to be equal," Jarrard said. "Right now, with the new Census, districts aren’t equal. We’re going to have to redistrict and redraw those lines."
It must be completed before qualifying in April for the next local elections.
Forsyth County has one commissioner and school board representative for each of its five districts.
Elections are held by district, with voters in each area determining their representatives.
The 2012 election cycle will feature contests for the Districts 2, 4 and 5 posts on the county commission and Districts 3, 4 and 5 on the school board.
The county’s board of elections recently rearranged some voting precincts, but the two issues are not related and are handled separately, Jarrard said.
He said the draft map, which will be presented at tonight’s commission meeting, is primarily a result of a "mathematical exercise" to equally divide the population by the GIS department.
County spokeswoman Jodi Gardner described the process in an e-mail.
"Once preliminary district lines were established, the course of action was to simply make adjustments using census block population information," Gardner wrote.
"The end goal [was] even distribution of population with a less than 1 percent deviation between districts."
Jarrard said senior staff members also worked on the map, and commissioners were able offer some recommendations.
The commission can vote tonight on whether to send the draft map to the state, which will then provide feedback.
"At some point, we will finalize the map, the board will officially approve it and then we’ll send it to the Department of Justice for pre-clearance," Jarrard said.