IOW considers creating two more election districts

Published 9:51 am Saturday, February 19, 2011


ISLE OF WIGHT—Five or seven? Election districts in Isle of Wight County, that is.

To study the feasibility of whether to reconfigure the current five, or create an additional two, is an issue before a committee appointed by the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors.

The county’s current districts are Carrsville, Hardy, Newport, Smithfield and Windsor. Each is represented by one person on the Board of Supervisors.

The reconfiguration for seven districts may be done because the county’s population grew 18.6 percent over the past decade.

“The board wants a citizens’ group to discuss the issue,” said Don Robertson, the county’s public information officer and a committee member. “Many people have suggested it’s time for the county to look at seven districts. One of the things the committee is looking at is an option to create two more. But the charge is not to simply come up with two additional districts.”

The county benefited from the housing boom and the population exploded, he said. “There was a pretty healthy growth in the 10-year period. Growth is good for business and economy, but it also places pressure on local government to provide services.”

A challenge for redistricting includes maintaining equal voting districts, said Robertson. He noted there’s more growth in the northern portion of the county than the southern. Plus, some districts are geographically larger but have less population density.

Serving on the committee will be 13 residents — two from each election district and three at-large appointments. Added to that group will be the county attorney, staff support, the voter registrar and electoral board.

Robertson said he was chosen for the committee because he lives in the Hardy District and also because he could offer “some input owing to experience.”

Further, he’s been with the county for 21 years, and “generally aware of the issues in all the districts.”