HAMLIN — The Lincoln County Clerk’s Office is working to redistrict the county based on the 2020 census numbers.
County Clerk Direl Baker said this process is taking place nationwide.
“The United States Census took place last year,” Baker said. “This means the state will redraw the state’s congressional and legislative boundary lines. Counties must also review and make changes according to the new population numbers and the new district lines drawn by the state for congressional and delegate districts. This means that counties may have to adjust magisterial districts and even voting precincts based on these new boundaries.”
The state Legislature recently wrapped up a special session mainly focused on redistricting.
During the session, lawmakers adopted a House of Delegates district map that includes 100 single-member districts, a Senate map that maintains 17 Senate districts and a congressional map that splits West Virginia into north and south districts.
The Legislature completed its work 19 days before the residential deadline for the 2022 general election. State law requires West Virginians seeking public office to live in their respective districts one year prior to the relevant general election. The next general election is Nov. 8, 2022.
The Lincoln County Commission in August approved funds for geographical information systems (GIS) software to be utilized in redistricting for the county.
Baker said although he did not have an exact cost of the software at the time, he was given a rough estimate of $300,000. Baker said in August the process was already behind schedule because census data was released late.
Lincoln County currently has 16 precincts, but this may change through the process. Baker said he is also going to have to begin considering alternative voting locations for precincts in Duval due to the recent closure of the Duval PK-8 building, but that it would be a problem to look at once the precincts are set.
“The county in part will be using a GIS mapping tool to help work through the redistricting project and hopes to also add these new districts as layers on the GIS map system that is currently on the Lincoln County website,” Baker said.
Baker said according to state code, public hearings do not need to be held as his office had initially planned. Baker said the necessary notices have been posted, and a map is scheduled to be presented at the Dec. 16 Lincoln County Commission meeting.