Isle of Wight adopts new voting districts

Published 8:20 pm Thursday, December 9, 2021

Isle of Wight’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Dec. 9 to adopt new voting district boundaries based on 2020 census data.

Per the adopted map, the county’s Hardy District will encompass the Benn’s Grant development and Nest on 17 apartments, and place a stretch of Grace Street that had moved to Hardy in 2011 back into the Smithfield District. It also moves the Carisbrooke development on Whippingham Parkway out of the Newport District and into the Windsor District.

The map also does away with the five districts’ current names. The Carrsville District is now designated “D1,” Windsor “D2,” Hardy “D3,” Newport “D4,” and Smithfield “D5.” According to county officials, this is intended to create less confusion, since the districts formerly known as Carrsville, Hardy and Windsor span well beyond those particular communities.

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Per federal and state constitutional requirements, the new districts must be more or less equal in population, be contiguous, compact and not discriminate based on race. Ideally, each district would have 7,759 residents based on a total county population of 38,795.

The adopted map achieves a 5.75% deviation. Districts are allowed to deviate up to 5%, meaning 2.5% up or down from the ideal population, though deviations of up to 10% may withstand challenges.

Per the federal voting Rights Act, there must also be at least one minority-majority district based on the ratio of white residents to people of color and whether voters consistently vote to defeat minority candidates. D3 owes its irregular shape to this requirement, since the minority population of the current Hardy District decreased by over 8% since 2010.

With the vote on record, the map will head to Virginia’s Attorney General’s office for final approval per the requirements of the General Assembly’s 2021 Voting Rights Act of Virginia.