HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Huntsville City Councilmember for District 2, Frances Akridge, held a town hall Tuesday night to discuss the process of redistricting.
Every ten years, city leaders are required to redraw city council and school board district lines to accurately reflect the population of the city. Data from the 2020 census show that Huntsville’s population is now just over 215,000 people. Now, it’s up to the city council to divide those people into legislative and school board districts.
Huntsville City Planner James Vandiver says they plan to make the districts as equal as possible.
“We’re aiming to make every district in the city as close to 43,001 [people] as possible,” Vandiver said.
District 5, which includes most of western Huntsville, is currently home to more than 52,000 residents. So, in order to make the districts more equal, some 9,000 people in District 5 will be redistricted.
Akridge, who represents District 2, said her district will lose about 2,600 residents. But regardless of whether or not your address changes districts, Akridge says it’s important for everyone to pay attention to the process.
“In August of 2022, there are three districts that are up for re-election. So you’ll need to know what district you live in so you’ll know which candidates you’ll be voting on,” Akridge said.
The council is following certain guidelines to help keep the process fair and prevent gerrymandering. Those guidelines include minimizing division of neighborhoods and communities, respecting the cores of existing districts, and complying with racial guidelines set forth in the Voting Rights Act.
While the final decision will be up to the city council, the public has the chance to make their voice heard in the process. Akridge says the city will roll out an online tool next month that will allow Huntsville residents to create their own districts map and submit it for review. Residents who submit a map proposal will be required to present it at a public hearing before the city council.
The public hearings will be held on the following dates:
- Tuesday, October 19th at 4pm
- Monday, October 25th at 5:30pm
- Tuesday, November 9th at 1pm
- Tuesday, November 16th at 4pm
- Monday, November 22nd at 5:30pm
The Huntsville City Council will adopt the finalized redistricting plan at their regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, December 16th.