Supervisors Review 2021 Redistricting Guidelines
by Joseph Schany
Following the census every ten years, district boundaries are redrawn from which electors choose each of Iowa’s four United States Representatives and 150 state legislators. At Tuesday’s regular session meeting of the Palo Alto County Supervisors, an overview on the process of redistricting/reprecincting was reviewed.
“They start by drawing your districts at the federal level,” explained Carmen Moser, Palo Alto County Auditor, “and then they draw down to your state, and then it goes to cities, and then to counties. Every county must file even if there are no changes.”
The federal government stipulates that districts must have nearly equal populations and must not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity.
“Basically we are going to take our new population and divide it by five (number of districts) and that is what our supervisor district will have to equal,” said Moser.
County responsibilities in the redistricting process include the review of precinct boundaries and supervisor district boundaries. The county will then hold a public hearing before final action is taken to adopt the new precinct boundaries, defining precinct boundaries by ordinance. A public notice of changes in precinct boundaries will then be presented.
While the process is still a ways down the road, the board will need to establish a temporary redistricting commission by May 15. The commission will be responsible for drawing the precinct boundaries with Palo Alto County Board of Supervisor approval. The commission will consist of three to five members selected by the board. Members must be eligible electors of the county when appointed.
The majority party of the board (Republicans) will appoint the minimum number of commission members constituting a majority. For example, if a three-member commission is selected, the Republican Supervisors will appoint two members while the Democrats will choose one. If a five-member commission is established, then the Republican Supervisors will appoint three individuals and the Democrats will appoint two.
A decision on the commission will be made within the next two meetings to allow time for the board to appoint commission members.