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Kendall County Seeks Public's Ideas for Redistricting

Information residents need to recommend new county board district boundaries will be posted online by late Monday.

Updated Tuesday: The county has posted information for residents interested in submitted their own redistricting proposals at: http://gis.co.kendall.il.us/redistricting.html

The Kendall County Board’s redistricting committee has three proposals for redrawing the two county board districts – but its members want to hear from the public too.

By Monday afternoon, GIS Coordinator Don Clayton plans to post redistricting criteria and other information residents would need to develop their own proposals on the county’s website. Essentially, the goal is to run the district boundaries along precinct and township lines as much as possible while also dividing the population evenly.

Public boundary ideas are due to county officials by May 9, and the committee will conduct a public hearing May 12 starting about 6 p.m. Those who submitted boundary ideas will have 10 minutes to talk at the hearing, while other individuals will have five minutes.

“If there are 80 people here, I want everyone to have their time to talk,” redistricting committee chair Elizabeth Flowers said, adding that the meeting would recess if the audience became unruly.

Some county board members have expressed a preference for maintaining the two, five-member districts, while some residents are pushing for five two-member districts. The board can reduce (but not increase) its members through redistricting.

During a committee meeting Friday afternoon, county board member Anne Vickery said she wasn’t looking for much of a change.

“Everything I’ve seen – I think you’ve done a good job of working it out so far,” Vickery said.

The current two-district map has 58,486 residents in District 1 and 56,250 in District 2, a 1.95 percent population difference between the two. One two-district proposal would create a population difference of 1.13 percent and the second would create a population difference of 1.1 percent – both by varying which precincts in western Oswego Township are included in District 1.

The third proposal would create a population difference of 0.46 percent but would split the village of Lisbon by moving Lisbon Township into District 2.

Frequent board critic and Oswego resident Chrisi Vineyard is a proponent of a five-district map. That proposal (roughly speaking) puts most of the county from the middle of Yorkville south in a single district, places the northwest corner of the county (including Plano, Little Rock and Bristol) in another district and divides the northeast portion of the county into three districts.

Oswego resident George Jones also has suggested 10 single-member districts, with three geographically large districts on the southern half of the county. Each district would have between 11,335 and 11,841 residents, according to Jones' proposal.

Vineyard said some residents did not understand that adding districts would not increase board salary costs, because the number of board members would remain the same. But Kendall County Chief Deputy Clerk Rennetta Mickelson said it would increase election costs.

"The more districts we have, the more ballot styles we'll have," Mickelson said. "That is going to increase election costs exponentially."

Editor's note: This article was updated with information about Oswego resident George Jones' proposal about 7 a.m. Saturday.

Rich T May 07, 2011 at 03:43 PM
Sorry Kelly but you blame the Reps when your own Elizabeth Flowers(Dem) is the chair of the redistricting??? Don't the Dems talk to one another anymore?
kpfarrer May 07, 2011 at 03:51 PM
Rich T - Where in any of my posts am I blaming only the Republicans? I'm not. What are your thoughts about the CB's conduct regarding redistricting?
Rich T May 07, 2011 at 04:27 PM
The whole redistricting is bad - not just the county board. From the Fed down to the county - they all protect their own turf. I'm all for changing the process from the top down. Instead of posting complaints where does anyone start the process?
Matt Walker May 07, 2011 at 05:01 PM
I agree with Rich T. Redistricing is nothing more than politicans protecting their political fiefdoms. I think it is easier to get started working from the bottom up than it is to work from the top down. At the lower levels of government, the politicians are offered a lot less protection than they are at the top and it is much easier to unseat them. It is a lot cheaper to run a campaign against a village or county board member than it is to unseat a Senator or a state rep.
kpfarrer May 07, 2011 at 07:36 PM
I agree that there is an unpleasant political aspect, but shouldn't districts be monitored somehow and have to adhere to guidelines which ensure proper representation of the people? The political aspect is even more of a reason for residents to become involved in the process. If they don't, then just a few politically involved people make all the decisions for the whole county for 10 yrs., without any input from the people. As far as posting complaints, it's more than that. Hopefully local residents are reading, and some may even become more aware, interested, and involved.

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