Concordia Parish Police Jury approves redistricting plans

Published 6:20 am Tuesday, May 10, 2022

VIDALIA — The Concordia Parish Police Jury adopted a redistricting plan that could move some voters from one district to another to account for population shifts.

Bill Blair of Strategic Demographics told Concordia officials that the districts needed minor redistricting with the end goal of having less than a 5 percent deviation in the population of each district.

“This is not major surgery, but it is surgery,” Blair said in a previous meeting.

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According to Blair, District 3-B had the largest deviation at 19.5 percent, gaining 389 people.

District 1-B had a deviation of -14.24 percent losing 284 people followed by District 2 with a -8.07 percent deviation, losing 161 people.

District 5-B gained 152 people and had a deviation of 7.62 percent.

The parish adopted a redistricting plan unanimously after a public hearing on the matter was held during Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting.

Only one resident, a former police juror, voiced any concerns about the redistricting plan at the public hearing.

Kevin Friloux said it would be fair to voters if Districts 1, 3, 4 and 5—in which voters elect two jurors—were split up and Districts 5B became District 6, District 1B became District 7 and so forth.

“There would be nine single-member districts,” he said. “It would save all of you time and money. You would have to go to a lot fewer homes and send a lot fewer flyers and mailouts to your district and everybody would only get one vote.”

Currently District 5, which has two jurors, is split so that some residents vote for the juror in District 5 Place B and some vote for District 5 Place A and not both.

However, in Districts 1, 3 and 4, the voters all chose two jurors, which Friloux said gives Districts 2, 5A and 5B less representation on the board than the other districts.

Others have argued before Monday’s meeting that there shouldn’t be any split districts and only five jurors should be elected. The Concordia Parish School Board mirrors the Police Jury with nine board members serving in five districts.

“It has been on my mind for 14 years and the only reason I didn’t bring it up before is because I worked for the police jury and the ones that I talked to said they thought it was a bad proposal,” Friloux said.

Jury Secretary Sandi Burley said one reason the districts were created as they are is because of the population and geography.

While District 5 has the most land area, District 5 places A and B still had fewer voters combined than other districts while Districts 1, 3 and 4 had the most. District 5B, in the southernmost part of the parish, also endures the most drainage issues.

No jurors offered any remarks in response to Friloux’s suggestion that there be nine separate districts.