City of Huntsville announces launch of free redistricting software
Published on September 30, 2021
Huntsville residents who would like to be involved in the ongoing redistricting process can now create their own plan using free software, provided by the City of Huntsville. The software, available here, gives constituents a voice in how City Council districts will be redrawn.
“While we have always welcomed input and the ability to meet with the Redistricting Team to create a plan, we wanted an online option so residents could draw plans on their own,” said Amy Kenum, Huntsville GIS Manager and part of the Redistricting Team. “This gives more residents the ability to be a part of the redistricting process.”
The software will be available for the public to use until the redistricting process is complete. The City Council is scheduled to vote on a final plan at its Dec. 16 meeting.
Kenum said the user-friendly software is designed to work on all browser platforms.
“It can be a little tricky learning which buttons to click and when,” she said. “That’s why we created a step-by-step tutorial that can be found on the redistricting website.”
Users with questions or who experience software issues can contact the Redistricting Team at 256-427-5100 or Redistricting@HuntsvilleAL.gov. Residents who are uncomfortable using the software can also make an appointment and a team member will assist in the creation of a plan.
Plans submitted to the City’s Redistricting Team that meet guidelines previously approved by the City Council will be presented at public hearings scheduled for October and November.
Those hearings are set for Oct. 19 and 25 and Nov. 9, 16 and 22. Mayor Tommy Battle’s plan will be presented to the City Council at its regularly scheduled meeting Oct. 14.
“The redistricting process is something that occurs every 10 years and we’re glad to offer a way for the public to be involved,” Mayor Battle said. “As our City grows, so do our Council districts. That’s why it’s important that each of our constituents are represented fairly.”
Municipal redistricting occurs after each census. Local officials are required to redraw the geographic boundaries of their districts, from which people elect City Council and School Board representatives, to account for population and demographic shifts since the previous census.
Redistricting also prevents a Council member from representing 30,000 constituents or more while another may only represent 10,000. The goal of redistricting is to divide Huntsville’s total population (215,070) into five districts with a population deviation of plus or minus 5%.
For more information, visit the City of Huntsville’s redistricting page: www.HuntsvilleAL.gov/Redistricting.