County board to consider new district map

Members of the Effingham County Redistrict Apportionment Committee and County Clerk Kerry Hirtzel discuss districting options in the office of Effingham County GIS Manager Jill Zerrusen Tuesday morning. Pictured from left is Committee Chairman David Campbell, Hirzel and committee members John Perry and Elizabeth Huston.

Members of the Effingham County legislative committee voted to advance a proposed redistricting map and precincts for Effingham County board districts to the full Effingham County board.

“As you know every 10 years we have to redistrict because the population changes,” Legislative Committee Chairman David Campbell said.

Campbell is also chairman of the Effingham County Redistrict Apportionment Committee. John Perry and Elizabeth Huston are also members of the redistrict apportionment committee.

“What I thought was real easy, isn’t as easy as it looks,” Campbell said. “We decided to keep the number of districts nine.”

He said they took the total population of Effingham County, which is 34,668, and divided it by nine for the nine Effingham County board districts and came up with the figure of 3,852 people per district.

“We have to keep each district either 5% below or 5% above (3,852 people) and keep each district pretty much even,” he said.

Effingham County Clerk Kerry Hitzel presented a proposed map that was voted on by the Effingham County Redistrict Apportionment Committee on Tuesday morning and also presented a second option with a map Hirtzel created after the Tuesday meeting.

“I think option two is a better option because it evens out a couple of the districts better than option one,” Hitzel said. “Precincts are based on voters and districts are based upon population.”

He said one of the hardest townships to work with when it comes to redistricting is Summit township because of the growth in population in that area. He said 10 years ago it was that way and this year as well.

“The reason you are wanting us to use option two is that you are wanting to give an even representation to everybody (each county board member), but you’re going to have the impact of more people having to adjust their voting selections as compared to option one,” Committee Member Rob Arnold said.

Hitzel said option two would be more work for the County Clerk’s office, but the county board districts would be closer to being even based on getting as close to 3,852 people per district as they could. He said it would have little impact on where people vote, however a few voters would have two ballots instead of one.

He said going with the second option would cause less problems 10 years from now when they would have to redistrict again.

“I like that it is more evened out,” redistrict apportionment committee member Elizabeth Huston said. “I would recommend number two because the numbers are closer.”

“That was our goal,” Campbell said. “It was interesting to see how one road change changed everything.”

Hitzel said Effingham County GIS Manager Jill Zerrusen did a great job helping with the maps.

The legislative committee voted to advance option two to the full county board for approval.

Distribution of Effingham County residents for each County Board District

Option One

District A – Norbert Soltwedel – 3,740

District B – Jim Niemann – 3,864

District C – Heather Mumma – 3,806

District D – David Campbell – 3,868

District E – John Perry – 3,935

District F – Elizabeth Huston – 4,019

District G – Doug McCain – 3,744

District H – Rob Arnold – 3,716

District I – Joe Thoele – 3,976

Option Two

District A – Norbert Soltwedel – 3,740

District B – Jim Niemann – 3,864

District C – Heather Mumma – 3,806

District D – David Campbell – 3,868

District E – John Perry – 3,935

District F – Elizabeth Huston – 3,915

District G – Doug McCain – 3,848

District H – Rob Arnold – 3,839

District I – Joe Thoele – 3,853

Total number of Effingham County Residents: 34,668

Charles Mills can be reached at charles.mills@effinghamdailynews.com or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 126.

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Charles Mills is reporter and videographer for the Effingham Daily News. A 1983 graduate of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, he worked as senior video editor for a Nashville television station. He is a native of Vandalia.