Summers County Commission continues redistricting process

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HINTON, WV (WVNS) — The impacts of redistricting can be felt everywhere, from the House of Representatives to the State Legislature, and now to the Summers County Commission.

The Commission convened in special session on November 5, 2021 to continue the local redistricting process. It involves redesigning voting precincts to fit in line with the new 100-member delegate district map approved by the state legislature and Governor Jim Justice on October 22, 2021.

When it comes to redistricting, challenges faced by local and state officials are the same. The Commission needs to attempt to equally distribute population in the different precincts.

“We are not going to be able to go exactly by the population because we cannot move somebody and vote somewhere else because they have to vote on their district house,” Summers County Commission President, Charles Saunders said.

Saunders said the Commission is figuring out how to work around a district line that separates part of the county into two districts in Pipestem. That means two people who live right next to each other might see different names on the ballot for statewide races. For county-wide elections, the ballot will be universal, but the candidates running may change due to a redesign of magisterial districts.

“You do not want to have all of the same representations for elected officials coming from the same area,” County Clerk, Mary Beth Merritt said. “So, you split your county up in three different parts, so you can have equal representation all through the county for a candidate to be able to run for office.”

People impacted by the redistricting changes will be notified of their new district by the County Clerk’s Office once all the local maps are approved by the County Commission. The new local maps will be finalized by the 2022 primary filing date in January.

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