Metro Council to Hire Contractor for Redistricting

by Gabe Bullard on May 23, 2011

The Louisville Metro Council is seeking a contract employee who can operate a computer program that draws new legislative districts based on census data.

The council will still have a say in where district lines are drawn, but the application will make the necessary calculations to ensure the proper number of residents live in each district.

Democratic Councilman Rick Blackwell says once the person is hired and the final data is released by the Census Bureau, the council can begin adjusting the district map. The council’s redistricting committee is split, though, on where to begin. Some members would like to start by expanding districts in west Louisville, where the population has shrunk.

“Some people want to start on that side and start adding people to that district and move east. Others think it might be better to start it on the East End where you have a growth in the population and shave those districts down and move west,” he says.

The council briefly considered bringing in an outside expert to help redraw the districts and make sure neighborhoods were not split by the new lines. Blackwell says a council workgroup since decided against that step, though the contractor may have expertise in redistricting as well.

“I think most of the council members feel like we’ve got a pretty good knowledge of the districts, we’ve got a good knowledge of the neighborhoods and the interest groups in our areas,” he says.

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