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Redistricting Picks Up, Maps Ready For Public

Louisville Metro Council’s ad hoc Committee on Redistricting has finished drawing final drafts of 26 district maps and will soon take them public.

Six regional meetings are being scheduled to reflect the committee’s confidence in the map released at the final committee meeting on Monday. The county attorney said the drafts are compliant under the Voting Rights Act, but Councilman Kelly Downard, R-16, said the draft called 10-B is still changing.

“It is reasonable to assume that after the collective comments from the public we will have at least a 10-C, so people should not take this, put it on the wall and throw darts at it because it’s not done for sure,” said Downard.

Council President Jim King, D-10, joked that the committee didn’t want to draw more than 10 versions of the map, so it began with the supplemental letters (i.e. 10-A). The earlier version, 10-A, was called compliant under the Voting Rights Act by Gerald Hebert–an expert on redistricting who was hired by the county attorney.

What Hebert also found was that the proposed district maps actually add a new black-majority district–District 6.

“Under the proposed plan, which was 10-A, all six districts (1-6) have majority African-American populations,” said Eric Graninger, an assistant Jefferson County attorney.

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Redistricting Discussions Resume in Some Communities

Some Louisville Metro council members are to beginning show drafts of new district boundaries this week.

When conversation stalled earlier this month in the ad hoc Committee on Redistricting it was unclear when the public would see drafts of their new districts. Maps were expected to be released last month, but council members were delayed by former-Councilwoman Judy Green’s trial, said Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7.

With the trial over, certain council members are taking drafts of their new proposed districts to public hearings in their communities. The new maps should reflect the growing east-end population and new census data.

All districts should expect some changes, but the committee tries to maintain the integrity of each district when possible, said Councilman Rick Blackwell, D-12, chair of the redistricting committee. Redistricting is required every 10 years according to state statute. Metro Council legally has until the end of the year to redraw the lines.

The last scheduled committee meeting is Monday. The public is encouraged to show up and comment for the first 15 minutes.

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Little Citizen Participation in Redistricting Process

Residents of some western Louisville districts have seen drafts of the Metro Council’s redistricting plans, but not all residents may see what their new districts will look like.

The Louisville Metro Council Ad Hoc Committee on Redistricting met Monday to discuss progress on drafting new borders for the city’s 26 districts.

Earlier this month, the committee decided to begin showing drafts to the public. Last week the 5th and 12th districts held meetings and invited residents from neighboring districts to attend. But Councilman Rick Blackwell, D-12, was surprised when only 30 people showed up, he said. And only one person recommended a change to the draft.

“By in large people that come to the meetings are people that are engaged with the government and they’ve come to know their council person and, like them or not like them or whatever, they’ve come to know them and they know how to work with them,” said Blackwell.

The 26 districts are close to being redrawn, said Councilman Jim King, D-10. Except many districts haven’t had meetings for public comments, like the committee proposed happen. Districts one through six will be of most concern to the county attorney, said Blackwell. Those areas have the highest concentration of minorities and the most interaction with other districts.

Any redistricting must comply with the federal Voting Rights Act and must account for population and voting trends. This is difficult, said Blackwell, but the committee is close to having a final draft prepared.

“So far from an NAACP perspective we’re pleased with it. I think they’re making every concerted effort to redistrict fairly and according to federal law,” said Raoul Cunningham, with Louisville’s NAACP branch.

Cunningham has kept a close watch on the redistricting process and communicates regularly with Councilwoman Cheri Hamilton, D-5. He said someone from the NAACP double checks the work of council members to make sure the process is fair and accountable.