State will redraw legislative districts next year

Published 10:42 am Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Using new information collected during the 2010 census, state leaders are redrawing district lines before the next election.

A legislative reapportionment committee will work in early 2012 to draw new districts for the Alabama House of Representatives and Alabama Senate.

Sen. Cam Ward, who represents Chilton County, serves on that committee and said some changes are inevitable.

Ward said both Chilton’s House and Senate districts will lose voters to other districts.

Based on numbers he has seen, Ward said Kurt Wallace’s House District 42, which includes all of Chilton County and part of Shelby County around Montevallo, stands to lose somewhere around 3,000 residents. That would bring the district to approximately 42,000 people.

Ward’s own 14th Senate District will take a bigger hit — losing around 31,000 people to drop from 169,000 residents to 138,000.

Despite the changes, Ward said he hopes Chilton County remains in his district.

“I want to keep Chilton,” Ward said.

District 14 covers all of Chilton and parts of Bibb, Shelby and southern Jefferson counties.

The new districts would first be used in the 2014 elections and must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department.

The Chilton County Commission and Chilton County Board of Education are both elected at-large by cumulative voting and don’t have districts.

Last month, both chambers of the Alabama Legislature approved a new map for Congressional districts that will keep Chilton in the 6th District, which is currently represented by Spencer Bachus.

Other counties in the new 6th District include all of Bibb, Coosa and Shelby counties and most of the Birmingham suburbs. The district lost northern Tuscaloosa to the 4th District and St. Clair to the 3rd.

The Justice Department must still sign off on the Congressional districts too.