Supervisors Approve Re-Districting Plan
There will be some changes to the landscape in terms of representation by the Palo Alto County Supervisors following approval of a re-districting plan Tuesday. The action came during the Board’s weekly meeting Tuesday, Sept 13.
Redistricting is required every 10 years to coincide with the Census, to ensure adequate and equal representation by elected officials. In the county’s last redistricting effort, it took three attempts to develop a plan for the supervisor districts before the Secretary of State approved the county’s plan.
On Tuesday morning, Dan McCain, a member of the county’s Redistricting Committee, presented the supervisors with a review of the group’s work over the past months to develop new representation districts for the county’s residents.
“The committee, Al Stangl, John Spies and myself, first met on June 27 to review the instructions from the Secretary of State and the county’s census data,” McCain explained. “We reviewed the present district map and made some adjustments to fit the current census, and sent that to the Secretary of State and the Supervisors for review, but that one didn’t fly.”
According to McCain, the Secretary of State rejected the county’s first redistricting attempt because of the City of Emmetsburg’s voting ward numbers. The group met again on August 24 and went back to the drawing board. After the City of Emmetsburg made some adjustments to its’ voting ward numbers, a new map was drawn up to comply with the Secretary of State’s requirements.
“We met on Sept. 2 to review a final version of the redistricting map, with John Spies making the motion and a second by Dan McCain to approve the final version with precinct designations and the motion was approved,” McCain stated. “That’s the map you have before you. It is the fifth revision that we’ve made to meet all the requirements. It also took a lot of work by Carmen (Moser) and Robin (Jamison) in the Auditor’s Office to make this happen.”
Supervisor Leo Goeders moved to approve the proposed redistricting map, with a second offered by Supervisor Ron Graettinger.
Board Chair Keith Wirtz asked for a roll call vote on the motion, and received ‘ayes’ from Goeders and Graettinger, with Supervisor Ed Noonan casting a ‘nay’ vote. Wirtz voted ‘aye’ to carry the motion on a 3-1 vote, with Supervisor Jerry Hofstad absent from the meeting and not voting.
“I know that your group did the best that you could with this,” Noonan told McCain, “But this map just looks kind of convoluted. I’m wondering if it would have looked different if the city of Emmetsburg had gone to five wards instead of just four.”
“I think the state has their rules backwards on this,” agreed McCain, “They want us to set the districts before the cities set their wards, and that’s not that easy to do.”
“Some people may be upset by being in new districts and precincts,” agreed Deputy Auditor Carmen Moser, “But this is all based on population numbers. We don’t have a lot of choice.”