Monday, March 7, 2011

Which state legislative seats will change the most? Detailed numbers from the 2010 Census are now available down to the block level for North Carolina. They show big population gains in metropolitan areas, modest increases in most other areas, but declines in several northeastern counties. It’s not easy navigating the new system of queries on the Census site, unless you already know what you’re doing! Cities, counties and school boards that elect members by district will use the information to redraw their lines – and so will the General Assembly for the 170 state legislative and 13 Congressional seats. The redrawn districts need to have roughly the same number of people to abide by the principle of “one person, one vote.” That means a current legislative district with 20,000 more people than the new ideal size will have to shed some of its voters into another district; big counties like Wake and Mecklenburg will get two or three additional districts this way, and more representatives in Raleigh. The NC FreeEnterprise Foundation has arranged a list of the current state House and Senate districts in order of how much they are over or under the ideal population. The under-populated districts will have to get voters from somewhere else or merge into another district, which makes the current legislator vulnerable to a face-off with another incumbent.

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