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Voting district changes await approval

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Maps showing proposed new County Commission and School Board districts will be distributed soon to all members of both governing bodies, Redistricting Committee chair Greg Vick told members of the commission’s Rules and Legislative Committee at a meeting Tuesday.
The preliminary maps were unanimously approved by the committee. The full commission is scheduled to vote on the new voting districts at its November meeting.
Members of the committee, with help from a representative of the state’s County Technical Advisory Service, kept the county in nine districts with approximately 5,500 voters each.
“The fifth district had the lowest numbers that needed to be risen up and the ninth district the highest numbers that needed to go away, and that was kind of the starting point,” Commissioner Linda Yockey said. “They wanted us to get 5,200-something on every district or as close as we could on it.
“After that there was a part of the eighth district that was just hung out there near the airport and we fixed that into a place. And then everything shifted to the northeast a little bit and everything came into line. There was a question about the prisoners but it ended up we didn’t have to do anything on that.”
Some commissioners had questioned if Bedford County Jail inmates would be considered as residents of their home districts or of the jail. Inmates’ home addresses are being used to determine residency.
Commissioners face a Jan. 1 deadline for final approval so Director of Elections Summer Leverette can begin preparing 2022 ballots. All current School Board and County Commission members remained zoned to their present districts, Yockey said.
Concern was expressed by County Commissioner Ed Castleman about changes in District 8, which he and John Brown represent. Vick explained that District 8 was so large that some residents of that area had to be moved to District 2. Those areas are around northern Shelbyville and the areas near Walmart Distribution Center, Shelbyville Municipal Airport and the new 231 North Industrial Park.
District 8 is split into two parts comprising areas within Shelbyville city limits. The roadbed of U.S. 231 North is entirely within Shelbyville city limits from Highway 437 Bypass to the built-up areas near the industrial parks, airport, hospital and adjoining business district.
Those areas are in District 8. However, private residences along U.S. 231 between the bypass and airport area remain outside the city limits and are in District 2.
Approximately 100 residents had to be moved from Castleman’s district to comply with state regulations about the population within a district, Yockey said.
“There were 3,000 more people in the city than the county but the eighth and ninth districts had more growth than everybody else,” Yockey  said.
Commissioner Jeff Sweeney said potentially 1,100 new voters will be added to the areas around the bypass and Fairfield Pike within the next three years as new subdivisions are expected to develop quickly. Current census figures, not growth projections, are used to determine district boundaries, Vick said.

Normandy and Flat Creek will see an increase in voters and Leverette must determine if those precincts have enough voting machines, Yockey said.

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