Work on Supervisors’ districts begins
The Kemper County Board of Supervisors have officially signaled the beginning of the realigning of supervisors districts by contracting with Butler Snow LLP to oversee the process.
Every 10 years supervisors are redrawn by population following the most recent census, which takes place at the beginning of each decade.
The board first looked over the newest numbers at their Nov. 1 meeting, when Jennifer Buford of the East Central Planning District came before the board to present a plan for the group she represents to oversee the redrawing of the district lines.
The board tabled the item and instead scheduled a work session for the following Monday to discuss who would lead the project. On Nov. 15, the board voted unanimously to hire Butler Snow.
According to the Census Redistricting Data provided to the supervisors, the population of Kemper County is 8,988, which the supervisors contended was a serious undercount. Buford told the board that those were the numbers and were what anyone who was putting together the redistricting plan would have to work with.
According to the data, District 5 has by far the highest population with 2,258 residents and District 2 the lowest with 1,552. District 3 has 1,578, while District 1 came in at 1,831 and District 4 at 1,769.
District 5 Supervisor Chris Cole challenged the accuracy of the numbers. “I don’t understand how we have 460 more, when the voters’ roll doesn’t show that,” he said.
The total county population number that was used to set the district lines 10 years ago was 10,400.
According to the most recent numbers, four of the five districts are majority black, with District 3 being majority white.
The racial breakdown per district is as follows: District 1 — 1,246 black 528 white, 16 American Indian, 3 Asian, 5 Pacific Islander, 10 other, 23 two or more races; District 2 — 1,161 black, 364 white, 2 American Indian, 1 Asian, 1 other, 23, two or more races; District 3 — 800 white, 655 black, 64 American Indian, 2 Asian, 2 Pacific Islander, 8 other, 47 two or more races; District 4 — 778 black, 571 white, 377 American Indian, 3 other, 40 two or more races; District 5 — 1,655 black, 557 white, 6 American Indian, 2 Pacific Islander, 4 other, 34 two or more races.
According to the report the ideal population per district would be 1,798.
The deviation between the percentage of between the largest and smallest district can be no more than 10 percent.
If the numbers presented are deemed correct and have to be used, it would mean that approximately 450 residents would have to be moved out of District 5 and into another district or districts. Number-wise, District 4 could basically stay intact, while District 1 could be considered inside the proper deviation range. That would leave District 2 and District 3 in need of additional population.