Redistricting plans moving on to feds

Mar. 28, 2013 @ 06:33 PM

OXFORD — New districts for Granville County have been approved and are ready for approval by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Commissioners and the school board met jointly and gave final approval Tuesday night in a special called meeting. The change was necessary because of a mistake by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Commissioners and school board members are elected based on the same set of districts.

At a public hearing preceding the vote, Rev. Bernard Holliday spoke and presented a prepared statement to the boards. In the statement, he gave a brief historical perspective and wrote that the revised map does not reflect the ideal model.

After closing the public hearing, the two boards discussed the plan and moved to vote.

The two boards voted separately on the revised plan.

Commissioners approved in a 6-1 vote, with Edgar Smoak, Zelodis Jay, David Smith, Dave Currin, Timothy Karan and Tony Cozart for and Ed Mims against.

Mims had proposed a slightly different plan at the March 7 meeting.

The board of education voted 5-0 for approval, with Leonard Peace, Brenda Dickerson-Daniel, Donnie Boyd, Shirley Lane and Catherine Lyon for the plan. Members Patrick Cox and Shirley Lane were absent.

A change in the redistricting plan adopted by the two boards in 2011 was required when it was learned that the U.S. Census Bureau had mistakenly counted 2,387 federal prisoners in Granville County rather than in Durham County. Subtracting that number of residents from District 3 upset the carefully balanced population distribution among the county’s seven districts.

At a joint meeting on March 7, the two boards received a proposed revision in the plan from Adam Mitchell of the Tharrington Smith law firm. The new plan moved a portion of District 7 to District 3, a portion of District 6 to District 7 and a portion of District 5 to District 6.

Districts 1, 2, and 4 were not changed.

The new plan resulted in deviations from the target population under 5 percent in each district.

The plan will be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice to make sure it is consistent with requirements of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Granville County is one of 40 counties in North Carolina subject to that law.

Contact the writer at