published Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Marion County examining redistricting for 2012 elections

By Ryan Lewis, Correspondent
  • photo
    Marion County Mayor John Graham stands in front of the Marion County Courthouse.
    Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

JASPER, Tenn. -- Marion County commissioners have begun the initial steps in examining redistricting for the 2012 elections.

County Mayor John Graham said the county is required to review the districts every 10 years.

"This is the year we have to have it done," he said.

Newly appointed Election Administrator Gary Reames said District 5 has gained in population over the past decade, while District 1 decreased by about 300 people.

Those changes will require some movement in the boundary lines, he said.

Officials said a review committee was needed that would include Reames and a commissioner from each of the county's five districts.

"That's the recommendation from the state that you have your elections administrator on [the redistricting committee] for the purpose of examining whether [the county] needs to reapportion the districts regarding the district boundaries," County Attorney Billy Gouger said.

Graham said the redistricting process must be completed by January, and County Technical Assistance Service representative Gary Hayes will be coming to Marion County to help.

"It's important that we put a committee together so we can meet with [Hayes] sometime next month and get the process started," he said.

Commissioners Jane Dawkins, Gene Hargis, Don Adkins, Mack Reeves and Ralph Pickett will serve on the redistricting review committee, officials said.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.

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