published Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Marion County Commission approves redistricting plan

By Ryan Lewis, Correspondent

JASPER, Tenn. -- The Marion County Commission has approved a redistricting plan that includes changes to Districts 1 and 2.

Commissioner Gene Hargis, who served on the redistricting review committee, said a "small portion" of residents in the Fish Trap Road area were added to District 1 from District 2 last week.

Also, residents on Elder Mountain were moved to District 2, he said.

"The reason for that was a population drop in [District 1]," he said. "You can have a large geographic area with no voters in it. What we tried to do was make the number of voters equal in every district."

Election Administrator Gary Reames said each district in the county averages about 5,500 residents.

Commissioner David West, who cast the lone dissenting vote on the redistricting plan, said District 4 has a very low number of registered voters compared with the other districts.

Redistricting does not consider registered voters, Hargis said, but is determined by "total population according to the census."

"You've got a district where 40 percent of the people are actually registered to vote," he said. "It doesn't play into the district. It strictly goes by population."

Reames said the redistricting plan was created "by population, not politics."

The redistricting plan adopts identical districts for the Marion County school board, officials said.

Hargis said the changes should not affect the current school board.

"To my knowledge this doesn't affect any school board member as far as putting them in a different district," he said.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at

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