Janesville47.3°

Committee to redraw Janesville's ward lines

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ANN MARIE AMES
February 22, 2011
— By October, you could be living in a different voting district or ward.

Starting in April, a nine-member committee appointed by the Rock County Board will start reviewing the results of the 2010 U.S. Census.


The committee, which will be made up of four county board members and five residents, could recommend moving county board district lines based on population changes, said Nick Osborne, assistant to the county administrator.


Once the committee has created tentative county districts, municipalities will consider changes to voting wards. Those suggestions will go back to the county.


The county board must approve the changes by the end of September, Osborne said.


The county will get the census data on or after April 1, Osborne said.


The county could adjust the lines of existing county board districts or add seats to its 29-member board based on the census results, he said. A county the size of Rock could have as many as 47 county board seats, he said.


The redistricting period following the census is the only time county boards can be made larger, Osborne said. In the 10 years in between, boards only can be made smaller.


Setting boundaries for state legislative districts takes place at the same time but are separate from the county process, Osborne said. A state committee of representatives and senators will create legislation for district changes just like any other bill.


The process must take place this year. The governor has veto power over the bill, Osborne said.


The number of federal legislators does not change. States can gain or lose federal legislators based on population changes.


Wisconsin did not gain or lose any representatives this year, Osborne said.


TO PARTICIPATE

The Rock County Board seeks five residents to participate in an ad hoc redistricting committee.


Committee members will review the results of the recent federal census and consider changing the boundaries of county board districts.


If you are interested, send a letter of interest to Rock County Board of Supervisors, Attention: Chairman Russ Podzilni, 51 S. Main St., Janesville, WI 53545. Letters must be received by Monday, Feb. 28.


IF YOU GO

The Janesville and Beloit League of Women Voters will host an informational meeting about the changes made to voting districts following the 10-year census.


The meeting will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 3, in the UW-Rock County Hyatt-Smith Commons meeting room. The panel includes Lori Stottler, Rock County clerk; Pete Cannon, member of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Board of Directors and former senior legislative analyst with the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau; and Randy Terronez, assistant to the Rock County administrator.


A county committee will study redistricting in May and June. The county has until September to finalize the plan.


The public is welcome to attend. For more information, call Ethel Himmel, at (608) 868-9180.



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