ELLSWORTH – The Pierce County Board held a special board meeting and public hearing Wednesday, Sept 15, where they discussed the redistricting taking place after the 2020 census and also appointed …
ELLSWORTH – The Pierce County Board held a special board meeting and public hearing Wednesday, Sept 15, where they discussed the redistricting taking place after the 2020 census and also appointed a new Veterans’ Service Officer.
During the meeting, Redistricting Committee Chair Brad Lawrence and GIS Specialist Kevin Etherton answered questions and provided an overview of the changes that are proposed in the redistricting plan. The redistricting committee discussed in several meetings some of these plans before presenting it to county board supervisors.
“The redistricting process is essentially redrawing the lines of the country supervisory districts from which public officials are elected and the purpose of redistricting is to reflect on population changes in order to preserve the one person one vote fairness principle,” said Lawrence.
The process of redistricting must take place every 10 years following the release of census data.
This is the first of three phases in the redistricting process: Approving a tentative redistricting plan needs to happen before the local municipalities can organize and change anything within their local wards. Then the final phase is for the county supervisory board to approve the final plan and provide that to the state.
Pierce County’s population increased 2.9 percent from 41,019 people in 2010 to 42,212 people living in 2020. This calls for drawing new boundaries in areas that the population increased to create more fairness and equality throughout the county when it comes to voting for government officials.
In this tentative redistricting plan, many of the changes happened in the city of River Falls and the city of Prescott, where the population changed the most. Many of the rural areas in the county are remaining the same.
There are 17 districts in the county; the committee decided to keep that many supervisory districts.
Lawrence said, “There was a very modest population increase and so we should remain with the current supervisory districts, and when drawing the lines we first consider if we can use the existing districts when redistricting.”
When creating the boundaries, they use an ideal population number for each district.
“Our ideal population came to 2,483 people; when we put the boundaries on each district if the population is above or below that number we want to be within 5 percent,” said Lawrence.
In the proposed tentative plan, each district is within the 5 percent population range. The most boundary changes took place in River Falls.
“The districts in red, all of them in River Falls, four, six and seven all have too many people in those districts using the current populations so we needed to change boundaries in that area,” said Etherton.
The supervisory board voted to approve the plan and the process will now move into phase two. The tentative proposed plan is available to view in detail on the Pierce County website and is also available to be viewed and obtained at the county clerk's office located in Ellsworth.