DOJ: Redrawn district lines pre-cleared

Published 6:47 am Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Department of Justice has sent official notice of pre-clearance to the Pike County Board of Education and the Pike County Commission approving the county’s redrawn district lines.

Although voters will be voting in their former districts during the primary election in March and any run-offs that may occur, Pike County residents will vote in their new districts during the general election.

A letter dated Feb. 10 from the Department of Justice to the county’s attorney Dorman Walker stated, “The Attorney General does not interpose any objection to the specified changes.”

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The board of education and the commission had initially adopted a plan crafted after reviewing corrupt census data provided by a demographer. When the Department of Justice noticed discrepancies in Pike County’s data, the commission and board had to rush to redraw lines.

On Jan. 3 after a public hearing, both groups voted to adopt a redrawn set of district lines and submitted the proposed districts to the Department of Justice for a review that was to take no longer than 60 days.

At first, it was hoped the county would receive pre-clearance in time to implement voting in new districts by the primaries. However, impending deadlines, including the need to have absentee ballots ready by Feb. 2, prompted Probate Judge Wes Allen to announce the election would proceed under the old district lines.

Allen said that he and other election officials could not move forward with preparations and meet the legally mandated election deadlines unless the election was held in the old districts.

A map showing the newly-approved district lines is available to view at the Pike County Commission office and voters will be notified of their new voting district well before the general election.