At the first public reapportionment hearing several weeks ago, resident Ken Ragan said it appeared that lines had been redrawn on purpose to exclude the five voters on one side of Hunt Road, where he lives. Ragan has said he intends to seek the District 2 seat held by Buck Davis.
By state mandate, lines must be redrawn after each U.S. census so populations in each district are within a 1 percent deviation. After the 2010 census, population shifts had caused deviations of 3 percent below to 23 percent above the allowed mark.
Commissioners previously had met with state reapportionment office representatives in Atlanta to redraw their lines.
District 5 Commissioner Richard English said at the first hearing that it may appear to Ragan that Davis had redrawn the lines to exclude Ragan from running against him, but that was not the case. Instead, English said Davis told him to “take what he needed” so English could meet the state mandate for a minority population in his district. Davis’ district had grown by 2,300 people.
Davis could not attend the first public hearing because of a family medical reason, but after hearing of the controversy surrounding the redrawn line, publicly announced he would ask fellow commissioners to redraw the lines so Ragan could remain in District 2.
Tuesday’s vote came with little discussion.
Troup County’s population has increased 14 percent from 2000 to 2010, from 58,779 to 67,044. Davis and English’s districts had the most noticeable deviations. Districts are drawn along census blocks, the smallest geographic area studied by the census.
The new district map is available for viewing at www.troupcountyga.org or the county Government Center at 100 Ridley Ave.
The new boundaries now must be approved by the Georgia legislature and the U.S. Department of Justice to become permanent.
Having gained population since 2000, Districts 2, 3 and 4 all lost a number of residents, while District 5 gained more than 3,000 residents.
New district population numbers are District 2 with 16,831 which includes Hogansville; District 3 at 16,628 which includes West Point; District 4 at 16,763; and District 5 at 16,822. District 1 is countywide.
Natalie Shelton can be reached at nshelton@ lagrangenews.com or (706) 884-7311, Ext. 229.