What is Redistricting and How Can You Help?

Jennie Robinson, Huntsville City Council Representative District 3

By Dr. Jennie Robinson
City Council President
Representative District 3

The City of Huntsville must redraw the district lines for the City Council and the City School Board every 10 years to reflect the changes in population as determined by the federal census.

The adoption of a final plan will fall to the Huntsville City Council with input from the Mayor, City School Board and members of the public. This is where YOU come in.

Redistricting helps ensure the Constitutional right to one person, one vote. The goal is to draw each district with as close to equal population as possible. It avoids disparity such as one council member representing 20,000 constituents while another council member represents only 10,000 constituents. Such unequal numbers would not allow the constituents in the larger district the same access to their representative as the constituents in the smaller district.

Usually, the City of Huntsville receives redistricting data from the U.S. Census Bureau within a year of Census Day (April 1st). Due to delays related to COVID-19, data delivery for the 2020 Census cycle has been later than usual and the process will begin in early Fall of this year.

The City of Huntsville seeks active and informed public participation in the redistricting process. Redistricting plans may be submitted by anyone. They must follow the guidelines approved by Council and must be presented at one of the public hearings for consideration. Any proposed redistricting plan, to be formally considered for adoption, must be placed on a Council agenda.

Redistricting guidelines, adopted by resolution at the August 12 council meeting, will govern the redistricting process. The guidelines include: a schedule of public hearing, a public participation plan, criteria for all plans submitted, principles and other objectives that will govern the redistricting process and ensure compliance with the U.S. Constitution, Voting Rights Act, and other applicable laws. You can find the guidelines at huntsvilleal.gov/redistricting.

The Huntsville City Council will hold several public hearings so that members of the public may have adequate opportunity to be give input to the redistricting. Public hearings have been set for October 19 at 4PM, October 25at 5:30PM, November 9 at 1:30PM, November 16 at 4PM and on November 22 at 5:30PM. All public hearings will be held at the City Council Chambers on the first floor of Huntsville City Hall, 308 Fountain Circle SW.

On December 9, all redistricting plans will be final and introduced by ordinance. On December 16th the Huntsville City Council will adopt a redistricting plan for the City of Huntsville. If you have any questions about the redistricting process, you may email the redistricting team at redistricting@huntsvilleal.gov or call 256-427-5100 to make an appointment with a member of the redistricting team. Thanks for being involved in this important community effort.

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