Hanover needs to redistrict after census

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email | facebook
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - Hanover County leaders are busy now that the census numbers are in.  The county's population grew to nearly 100,000 in 10 years, and that means some changes are on the way.

The Henry District, which includes part of Mechanicsville grew the most adding more than 2,700 people.  So what does that mean? It could mean that if you've voted at the eastern Hanover Volunteer Fire Department for the past 10 years, you may have to cast your ballot somewhere else this election.

And while it may affect the way you vote, this redistricting process will not affect where your child goes to school.  That's something Hanover's GIS Manager, Kevin Nelson, has been answering a lot of questions about over the past few weeks.  Census fueled redistricting involves evening out the population.

Nelson says, "You have to sort of try to achieve where each election district has the same population, and that's where it gets sort of interesting."

The census shows Hanover's population is now 99,863.  That means each district needs to about 14,200 people in it.  The eastern part of the county, including the districts containing Mechanicsville, grew the most.  Ashland grew the least, and that means some challenges.

Nelson says, "Because of the distribution, there aren't districts next to each other that we can just borrow from each one; it's sort of a domino effect because the east has to lose population and the west has to gain."

That means every district will change in some way, and that has to happen by the primary election date on August 23.  Hanover County leaders have launched a website to inform the public about redistricting.  They will also be hosting public information sessions.

Nelson says, "The biggest thing is to participate and come out and give us comments. You know, I can go into my office and come up with a redistricting proposal, but we need people to be involved and tell us what they want or don't want out of redistricting."

The public information sessions will begin later this month, and county leaders hope to have their redistricting plan in place by this summer. See the Hanover website for more.

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