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Moving magisterial districts

Fiscal court approves plan to shift boundaries in Grayson and at Carter Caves

By Jeremy D. Wells

Carter County Times

A county’s magisterial districts have to be balanced in population – with a similar number of residents in each district. This can sometimes lead to some interesting shapes for districts, which generally follow state and county roads for ease of definition.

It also means that sometimes district lines have to be redrawn following the census. That’s the situation Carter County found itself in this year when, following COVID delays, the census data came back to show that Carter County’s voting districts weren’t equally apportioned.

Because of this the fiscal court has been working with FIVCO and a reapportionment committee to determine the best way to balance the districts without impacting voting locations. Eric Patton, with FIVCO area development district, appeared at a special session of Carter County fiscal court last Thursday with that new plan, which will move 446 residents from District 2 into District 1 and another 15 residents from District 4 into District 5.

The move in Districts 4 and 5 have nothing to do with balancing the population. That move is related to congressional districts. A recent shift that split Carter County into two congressional districts left a small section of the fourth magisterial district that voted in a different congressional election than other residents in the district. This meant that the county clerk had to print up special ballots for a small, pocket voting district that comprised only 15 residents and even fewer voters. Those voters, all in the Carter Caves area, will now be represented by the fifth magisterial district.

That move will decrease the population of District 4 from 5119 to 5104, and increase the population of District 5 from 5,282 to 5,297. That’s a more lopsided distribution, but within the balance allowed by the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS).

The change that will help rebalance the county, as required by KRS, is a move to shift the 446 residents from District 2 into District 1. That will change District 1 from the smallest district by population, at 5,028 at the time of the census, to the largest, with a population of 5,474. District 2 will shift from the largest, at 5,718 residents, to the third largest at 5,272 residents. District 3 will remain unchanged at 5,106 residents.

The area moving from District 2 into District 1 is between Rupert Land/East Midland Trail /KY 3297 and the Little Sandy River, north of US 60/KY 1. The neighborhood encompassed by Riverbend Way and areas east of the Little Sandy River remain unchanged. Residents in the neighborhood will remain in a district that includes portions of Grayson. Voting locations will not be impacted and no special ballots need to be created to include city or congressional elections.

Patton told the fiscal court that this move made the most sense to the reapportionment committee, “population wise and geographically.”

He told the court this was the committee’s “only plan for reapportionment,” but reminded them they were free to reject it and address reapportionment in another way, as long as it met KRS requirements for population balance.

The court voted unanimously to approve the plan.

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com



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