The Jasper Common Council reviewed an ordinance adjusting voter districts in the city based on the updated census information.
Indiana Code (IC 36-4-6-4) requires districts to be assessed according to the population and be adjusted to ensure generally equivalent population distribution in contiguous areas. The city formed a group that included staff members working in conjunction with the City Engineering Department to adjust the district lines.
According to City Attorney Renee Kabrick, she received about four calls and a couple of walk-ins from residents after the city sent a letter out notifying affected residents of the changes to the districts.
In creating the new districts, the city was limited by a federal statute requiring that census blocks not be split by districts. A census block is a statistical unit of the population comprised of geographic blocks encompassed by natural or manmade boundaries. Those boundaries can be property lines, streets, railroad tracks, or rivers and streams. In a city, a census block could be a street block for example. There are 8,132,968 blocks based on the 2022 census.
Working within those guidelines, the newly drawn lines split Jasper into five districts with about 3,342 people each. According to City Engineer Chad Hurm, there is an average of three percent deviation plus or minus in population between the districts.
“We went through and basically move things back and forth from one district to another, to get everything as close as we could and in the most contiguous manner,” Hurm told the council Wednesday evening.
The council approved the first reading of the city ordinance regarding the new district maps. The ordinance will be up for final approval at the July 20 City Council meeting (Information at the link).
The city has until the end of the year to complete the redistricting process.
The new districts can impact candidates city residents will see on their ballots. However, it won’t impact where you can vote since the county has converted to voting centers. All registered voters in the county can vote at any designated polling location on election day.