LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – With just weeks to spare, the La Crosse County board is making its new redistricting plan official.
First News at Nine’s Alex Loroff explains the process, and how it was affected by the pandemic.
La Crosse County is finalizing changes to its district maps, which are reflecting recent population growth.
County board chair Monica Kruse says counties around the nation regularly go through redistricting so each resident has an equal voice in future elections.
“Population numbers change, areas grow, areas contract… the principal of one person, one vote, demands that districts are substantially equal in size.”
“Redistricting is a process that happens every ten years, but the 2020 census numbers were delayed by the pandemic, resulting in a much shorter window for La Crosse county to create new district maps.”
“We were under a lot of pressure to get a process that normally takes six, eight months done in about sixty days. We had to do our job really quickly, then pass it on to the municipalities.
Census numbers weren’t reported until august, and the new district maps need to be approved before December 1st, the date when candidates can take out nomination papers for the spring election.
The biggest change to the new plan is the creation of an additional district, which will increase the number of county board members from 29 to 30.
The new district is a result of an uptick in people living in suburban parts of the county.
“We just felt that we would not be able to do a good job of having that one person, one vote fulfilled if we didn’t add another district.”
Guiding principles for redistricting state that all districts must be substantially equal in population, and districts must generally consist of whole city wards or municipalities.
A public hearing on the new plan was held Monday evening, before being approved at a county board meeting.
In La Crosse, Alex Loroff, First News at Nine.