CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — The House Redistricting Committee convened Thursday to discuss the future of new Congressional and Single Member districts for the State of West Virginia.
Redistricting happens after the Census every ten years. 2020’s results showed a decline in West Virginia’s population resulting in the loss of a seat in the House of Representatives. This means the House of Delegates and the State Senate must portion the state into two new congressional districts.
A map made by two Raleigh County Delegates was presented at the meeting. Delegate Brandon Steele said the goal of their map is to keep communities with similar interests together.
“The Southern Coalfields need to be kept together and obviously Mick and I proposed a map that we kind of worked on that keeps the Southern Coalfield Communities together,” Steele said. “And from the other side of it keeps the Northern communities together that have a lot more in common.”
Redistricting is a detailed and strenuous process with multiple federal and state laws that must be followed. The most important: making sure districts are as equal in population as possible. The committee also discussed the transition to single-member delegate districts for the State Legislature.
For Mercer County, the proposed map means three districts would take up separate sections of Mercer County and one district would combine a smaller section of Mercer with Raleigh and Summers Counties. Delegate Marty Gearheart said the map sticks to combined areas of interest and promotes direct competition in future delegate elections.
“Now you have to go out and present your ideas directly against someone else’s ideas and allow the public to make a decision,” Gearheart said.
The future of those plans is still to be determined as the House waits for public opinion.
All suggested maps for congressional and single delegate districts can be found on the state legislature website.
Public comments can also be submitted to individual delegates or the state legislature website.