Adams County district lines must change

Published 12:08 am Sunday, February 13, 2011

NATCHEZ — Recently released U.S. Census numbers indicate Adams County will have to shift its district lines to accommodate changes.

Chancery Clerk Tommy O’Beirne said the county will redistrict if the census shows a 10-percent variance from the ideal district size.

“If you have one district that picked up 6 percent and one that lost 4 percent you have a 10-percent variance,” O’Beirne said.

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But based on the numbers two districts — District 4 and District 5 — are off-balance enough on their own to require redistricting.

The ideal district size is a population number found by dividing the total population by five — the number of districts in Adams County.

Based on 2010 numbers, Adams County’s population is 32,297, and its ideal district size is 6,459.

According to 2010 numbers, District 5 has 7,957 residents, indicating a 23-percent variance to the ideal size.

District 4 has 5,408 residents, indicating a 16-percent variance.

District 1 has 5,959 residents, indicating an 8-percent variance.

District 2 has 6,912 residents, indicating a 7-percent variance.

District 3 has 6,061 residents, indicating a 6-percent variance.

Adams County’s population decreased to 32,297 in 2010 from 34,340 in 2000.

O’Beirne said racial demographics also play a role in redistricting. The goal is to allow minority groups to have a representative vote at the board table.

O’Beirne said the county will probably have elections before redistricting is complete. Redistricting will require at least two public hearings and the county must submit its new district lines and demographics to the U.S. Justice Department for approval.

The first primary election will be Aug. 2, the primary runoff election will be Aug. 23 and the general election is set for Nov. 8.

A special election could possibly take place in 2012 if a judge rules in favor of a citizen who files a grievance against the outcome of this year’s election based on redistricting.

Concordia Parish

The parish-by-parish numbers from the 2010 census show a population growth just under 3 percent in Concordia Parish.

There are 575 more residents in the parish than there were in 2000, bringing the number to 20,822 in 2010 up from 20,247 in 2000.

While the numbers for the parish grew, the major municipalities in the Concordia saw a decline.

Vidalia went from 4,543 residents in 2000 to 4,299 residents in 2010.

Concordia Parish Police Jury President Melvin Ferrington said he does not think the parish will have to redistrict based on his glances at the numbers.

“If there is any changes into the parish and police jury (districts), it will be very minor,” Ferrigton said.

Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland said he did not think Vidalia would have to redistrict, but he would welcome the resetting of lines.

“Anytime you have to redistrict (to accommodate) changes, I think it’s a positive change,” he said.

Mayor Glen McGlothin said his biggest worry is that the census numbers might indicate the loss of a congressional seat.

“It’s not good news for the state. We would lose power. If affects the state it affects all of us,” he said.