The city’s redistricting process took the project to the next level Wednesday night as a city committee approved a number of map proposals to be brought before the public for input before the final selection is made.
After several weeks of meetings came out with a variety of possible redistricting plans for the city’s Reapportionment and Redistricting Ad Hoc Committee to consider, the committee’s members debated what the most important constants brought forth in each plan were in order to generate a more comprehensive final proposal.
Created in correlation with the results of the 2010 census, the proposed plans adjust the current districts to compensate for changes in population that occurred over the last decade, Madison city planner Brian Grady said.
Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, proposed a plan that would slightly expand his district, the area encompassing a majority of the University of Wisconsin campus as well as most undergraduate housing facilities, Grady said. Although most of the campus and downtown districts would remain fairly similar in shape and size, many of the districts on the east and west edges of Madison would change significantly if the public votes in the plan, he said.
After Grady presented a number of plans to the committee, members offered critiques and suggestions to the newly drawn district lines. Grady said the feedback would be incorporated into a final plan, which will be presented at a City Council discussion tonight.
While most aspects of the plan received the committee’s approval, members did propose changes. Resnick stressed the importance of keeping as many UW campus and housing buildings in his district as possible, redrawing the lines slightly to incorporate both Smith Hall and several lakeshore dorms currently in adjacent districts.
“For the most part the plan has everything I would recommend,” Resnick said. “Going ahead with this will do a lot for the student voice.”
The city will put the proposed plans on its website Friday, allowing the public to offer input before a plan is chosen in mid-May.
A redistricting team began developing the proposed plan in early March after the results of the 2010 census were published, Grady said. They first looked at the populations in each district provided by the census to determine which needed to be reconfigured, he said.
The redistricting team then used several criteria they deemed necessary to redraw each district, Grady said, along with several required by law.
The primary goal was to ensure the population of each district would be very close to 11,660 people – a number deemed fit from the results of the census. Grady said throughout the last ten years, many districts on the edges of Madison had decreased in population, while districts near the campus and downtown area had stayed relatively dense.
“This gives the votes of those in the less populated areas more power in deciding elections than those in the denser districts,” Grady said. “The goal of this plan is to ensure one person equals one vote.”