Six-district map viable
Published 5:22 pm Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Editor, The Smithfield Times:
Concerning Isle of Wight County redistricting, it is likely we can form a majority-minority district with a six-district concept.
The 2020 redistricting map for six districts should resemble the 2000 redistricting map except the Smithfield and Newport districts will be replaced by three districts; call them Smithfield, Newport and Jones Creek districts. Jones Creek will be made partly of the present Smithfield District and partly of the present Newport District. The 2020 Hardy District should look much like the 2000 Hardy District with small adjustments.
This 2020 Hardy majority-minority district in a six-district concept will be in “retrogression,” a reduction from 20% representation (one in five districts) to 16.67% representation (one in six districts), and always a “Section 5” concern. The temptation to “pack” Smithfield minorities into the 2020 Hardy District to increase Hardy minority numbers should be avoided as it is detrimental to Smithfield minority candidacies, which have had success. A viable six-district concept would preclude a seven-district concept because of even more regression (14.29%).
There are eight Virginia counties that have had six supervisors; Sussex and Northampton are two. In the six-district concept, 3-3 tie votes fail. Some counties, like Sussex, designate tiebreakers. All motions require at least four votes to pass.
Four votes are the wish of some who feel three supervisors should not decide future Isle of Wight decisions.
A six-district 2020 IW map will look much more familiar. Grace Street and Riverview should return to the Smithfield District. Days Point will return to Hardy. The Newport District will go back to Route 10 and may incorporate Benn’s Grant. Carrsville and Windsor sprawl will retreat to old boundaries.
Incumbents remain in their districts except for the Newport School Board representative, who now will live in the Jones Creek District. Basically, putting the numerical equivalent of Smithfield and Newport growth of the last 20 years in the Jones Creek District brings the rest of us back to the district boundaries of 20 years ago.