Some concerned citizens have organized a community meeting Feb. 13 at 10 a.m. at Daphne City Hall to discuss issues related to the City of Daphne’s proposed redistricting plan and consolidation of polling locations ahead of the 2016 municipal elections.
In January, the Daphne City Council postponed a vote on the plan because of voting rights concerns voiced by Councilwoman Tommie Conaway and some in the community. Representatives from the Baldwin County Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee, Baldwin County NAACP and Park City Civic Club have expressed concerns about the proposal dividing a majority black voting block in the Park City community.
Baldwin County Martin Luther King Celebration President Willie Williams said all Daphne city officials have been invited to attend the meeting, which will include a history of redistricting in Daphne, a presentation of the proposed redistricting plan and voting locations.
“We have invited the entire City Council to the meeting,” Williams said. “We know it will be a packed house because a lot of people have concerns. We want the city to understand what we think about their plan.”
The meeting will also include a presentation of four alternative redistricting options. Those options include a plan to redistrict in 2021 after the 2020 Census, supporting the City Council’s proposed plan, or a pair of new plans. The meeting will also look at keeping the same number of polling locations at five or the City Council’s proposed plan of one or two locations.
“We found out that there are a lot of citizens out there who didn’t even know the redistricting was happening,” Williams said. “We have some serious concerns about the plan and people need to know all the facts. We are going to present everything they need to know, everything that is on the table.”
The council’s proposed plan is supposed to help the city more equitably distribute its population of 21,727 throughout its seven districts, reaching a goal of an average 3,104 in each district, using 2010 Census data. The city has until May to approve the proposal ahead of the 2016 municipal elections. The district lines would be used in the 2016 and 2020 voting cycles.