Article VII, Section 5 of the Virginia Constitution and Virginia Code §24.2-304.1 requires localities which elect governing bodies by district to redistrict every ten years to account for population and demographic shifts. Federal, state, and local reapportionments require the use of federal census and redistricting data.
The U.S. Census Bureau's decennial census is now complete. As of the 2020 Census, New Kent’s population was 22,945, which was a 24.5% increase from the 2010 Census.
New Kent County's redistricting effort established new local election districts for the Board of Supervisors and School Board. However, this effort did not change school boundaries or electoral maps for state legislators or members of Congress.
Factors considered in approving a proposed plan:
- Is minority voting strength reduced?
- Are minority concentrations fragmented in different districts?
- Are minority concentrations overconcentrated in one district?
- Were alternative plans considered?
- Is compactness and contiguity of districts ignored?
- Is the plan consistent with the redistricting goals?
- Have minorities been afforded the opportunity to participate in the process?
- Election districts shall be "as nearly equal in population as practicable."
- Election district populations shall not exceed five (5) less or five percent (5%) more than the ideal district population.
- Election districts shall be drawn in a way that assures equal opportunities for racial and ethnic communities to participate in the political process and shall not diminish their right to elect candidates of their choice, as mandated by the Voting Rights Act.
- Election districts shall be compact and contiguous, with due regard to natural features and accessibility of voting places.
- Election district boundaries shall follow clearly observable boundaries.
- Election districts shall avoid splitting precincts, as precincts must be wholly contained within single congressional, state, and local election districts.
- Election district boundaries shall preserve communities of interest, to the maximum extent possible. A community of interest means a neighborhood or any geographically defined group of people living in an area who share similar social, cultural, and economic interests.
- Election district boundaries shall recognize incumbency of both the Board and the School Board, to the maximum extent permissible under law and consistent with the other criteria, so that existing incumbent office holders remain in separate districts.
- Election district boundaries shall maintain existing boundary lines, where possible, if existing locations can be reasonably accommodated.
- Election district boundaries shall be politically fair to not unduly favor or disfavor any political party.
- The redistricting process shall involve various opportunities to receive public input through community meetings, public hearings, social media, and the County's website.
- The redistricting process should result in meeting the basic representational and constitutional requirement of "one person, one vote," as applied by the Supreme Court in Reynolds v. Sims.
October 12 - Presentation of goals
October 27 - Presentation of Redistricting options
November 1-30 - School Board/community meetings
November 24 - Board of Supervisors review public input
November 24 - Advertise public hearing
December 13 - Board of Supervisors public hearing
December 21 - Special meeting for Redistricting Plan adoption (if needed)
December 31 - Deadline for Redistricting Plan submissions to Attorney General
A redistricting committee, comprised of County staff from the departments of Administration, Information Technology and GIS as well as Planning, worked on the redistricting 2021 plan. This plan included proposed election district and precinct boundaries, as well as polling place recommendations to be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors.
Resolution R-22-21 was considered at the Board of Supervisors regular business meeting on October 12, adopting the 2021 redistricting process criteria. The October meeting can be viewed in its entirety on the County's YouTube channel. The redistricting discussion begins around the 58:00 mark.
Public Information Sessions
In addition to numerous meetings with County political parties and organizations and collected online/email comments, a public information session was held for citizen questions and input on December 9, 2021 at 6 p.m. in the Boardroom of the New Kent County Administration Building (12007 Courthouse Circle, New Kent). A public hearing was held on December 13, 2021 at 7 p.m. in the same location.
On December 13, the New Kent County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 favorably for Ordinance O-39-21, adopting the County's 2021 redistricting plan.