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Friday, December 9, 2011

New redistricting map for South County House districts

House Version #3 would mean big changes for Charlestown
The old map currently in use
By Will Collette

If you're like most Rhode Islanders, you're not paying much - maybe not any - attention to the large scale re-drawing of Rhode Island's political landscape. Called "redistricting," it happens right after every federal census. By law, political districts need to be adjusted to reflect changes in population so that in the end, each district has pretty much the same number of voters.

When the first proposed maps were published, I showed you how South County would fare under House version A and version B. Currently, Charlestown is represented by two outstanding state Representatives. Larry Valencia's huge rural District 39 laps over into the north-western part of Charlestown. Donna Walsh's coastal District 36 is centered on the southern and eastern parts of Charlestown.

There's a new map that just came out, House Version C.

That new version gives all of Charlestown to Rep. Donna Walsh.

One of the stated goals for the redistricting process, aside from complying with the requirement to equalize population, is to try to avoid splitting up municipalities more than necessary. Reuniting Charlestown by putting all of it in District 36 would be consistent with that goal, though not very helpful to Larry Valencia who's great numbers in the 2010 election won him a very tight election.

Here's House Version C: