10/03/11 The 2010 nationwide census count had the three members of the Marshall County Election Board pouring over maps during their regular meeting on September 27. They are now faced with the challenge of redistricting to ensure that the three districts in the county are balanced.
In 2000, the census showed that the county had 45,128 residents. That number increased to 47,051 in the 2010 census count. In order to be equal in terms of population, each district needs to have approximately 15,683 residents. As the members of the election board consisting of Roger Wise (D), Steve Harper ( R ) and Julie Fox, Marshall County clerk surveyed the existing maps, District 1 had 16, 475 residents; District 2, 15,808; and District 3, 14,768.
The board spent several hours on the project with the help of an expert on the topic from the firm of Beacon, Snyder, and Beacon of Indianapolis. Michael Moorefield of the company was able to use software designed to immediately shift mapping lines and determine population. The local board was connected via the internet with Morefield.
Those residing in the each of the various three districts have a different county commissioner to represent them. The county commissioners are elected county-wide for a four-year term. The commissioners are the body that is charged with executing the acts legislated by the County Council, collecting revenue and managing the day-to-day functions of the county government. Currently the seats are held by Kevin Overmyer, Jack Roose, and Greg Compton. Compton was appointed to the position for 2011-2012 by the Republican County Chair David Holmes to replace Tom Chamberlin who became the county sheriff. As the districts are altered, the constituents that are under each of the commissioners could change.
An even further complication to the process concerns the Indiana State Senate boundaries. The Marshall County district lines cannot cross over the Senate lines.
Adding to the difficulty of making changes was the recent addition of precincts. The Election Board had to add two precincts in order to comply with the need to accommodate voters. One precinct was added to Center Township and the second, North Township. The precincts are formed by registered voters, as opposed to population. Harper said, “The vast majority will not see any changes. It may simply mean that people will have to go into another door of the same church or polling place.”
Carol Anders Correspondent