Page County has finalized its plans to establish new voting precincts and the districts represented by the Page County Board of Supervisors.
The precincts and district are reviewed every 10 years and adjusted to comply with the census results. The new plans were approved Jan. 4 during a meeting of the Page County Board of Supervisors.
Prior to holding a public hearing on the new precincts and districts, the board approved an agreement with the city of Shenandoah to include an unincorporated section of land located within Grant Township in Shenandoah Ward II. Page County Auditor Melissa Wellhausen said there no one living on the section of land.
With that agreement in place, the board proceeded with the public hearing on the proposed voting precincts and Supervisor districts. Wellhausen said the two meetings of the Temporary Redistricting Commission were held to review the new boundaries.
Bethann Tillman served on the commission and attended the public hearing. She said the commission left the districts largely the same as in past years.
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"There were options, but not reasonable ones, to redistrict because the districts do need to be contiguous. They are not to separate out cities, unless of course they are in a metropolitan area where that would be a reasonable thing to do, and it, of course, met the criteria, the margin, of error for being divided. So it checked all the boxes. Any of the other concerns that were raised to us were not accommodations we could make in the redistricting committee. They were things that would have to follow additional processes that can be obtained through the Auditor's office," Tillman said.
Before Page County could act on its precincts and districts, Wellhausen said the state had to set its legislative districts and then the cities had to establish their precincts. Once those boundaries were in place, Page County could proceed with its portion of the redistricting process.
"Within the populations we had a variation in District 1 of 39, a variation in District 2 of negative 24 and then a variation in District 3 of negative 14, which overall meant a variation of one for the county," Wellhausen said.
Meanwhile, only one change was made to the voting precincts in Page County. Wellhausen said a new voting precinct had to be created because one of the boundaries for the state House of Representatives now runs through Page County.
Wellhausen said Precincts 1 and 2 used to be a single precinct. However, she said the change only impacts where a few voters will cast their ballots.
"Now they'll come to the courthouse to vote, whereas before they went to Shenandoah Fire," Wellhausen said. "Our hope is that for most elections we can still combine Precinct 1 and 2 and have them vote at the same location. So it won't be an issue for the majority of the individuals, but there will be a slight change for a few."
Wellhausen said residents impacted by the change will receive an official notification. The new districts and precincts will be in effect for the 2022 elections.
In other business Tuesday, the board assigned a county held tax sale certificate to Michael Morrison. A letter sent to the Board of Supervisors regarding a comment made by Supervisor Jacob Holmes about the possible COVID-19 vaccination mandate was read by Wellhausen.