Back to the Drawing Board for District Lines

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COLUMBIA - The city's reapportionment committee met Thursday to continue work on what has turned out to be a timely task. Committee members discussed the feedback they each received at a public hearing held earlier this month as well as new ideas for the redistricting of wards in Columbia.

Committee members disagreed on the basis of the main problem, which is reassigning residents into the first ward.  They do agree that there was a big response from groups who could end up in the first ward. Members debated whether the reasoning was political or social, but all know the fact remains that the first ward needs to get bigger.

Committee member Michelle Gadbois raised a question about the legality of trial D which would expand the west side of the first ward south from Broadway to Stewart.   While she does not believe the plan violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965, she wants to make sure the committee keeps the act in mind moving forward.

The committee will be working to form at least one more plan to propose to city council which may include completely redrawing the lines of the wards.  That would be in addition to trial A, B and D.  Trial A would extend the first ward east and west into the second and third wards.  Plan B would expand the first ward north of I-70.  Members of the committee also said it is likely another public hearing will be held to present new proposals before they are submitted to city council.