Charleston, W.Va. – Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant, West Virginia’s chief elections officer, said Tuesday her office is ready to act as a resource for lawmakers as they enter into the redistricting process this summer.
Redistricting takes place after each United States census, which occur every ten years. Redrawing district lines will determine from where in the state congressional representatives, State Senators, and members of the House of Delegates are elected. Areas that gain population may gain seats while areas that lose population may lose seats. The total number of senators and delegates will not change.
Tennant spoke before the House Redistricting Committee meeting, where she said the Secretary of State’s Office has no direct stake in the content of the redistricting plans. She said as the state’s chief elections officer she has a vested interest in seeing that the process results in an accurate reflection of the approved districts within all election related components such as the voter registration database, voter mailings, ballots definitions, and voting machine programming.
“Precinct adjustments may require the identification of new polling locations,” Tennant said. “County clerks need redistricting information as soon as possible so they can notify voters of any changes. There are dozens of deadlines that the Secretary of State’s Office must meet during the election process, so I urge the legislators to complete the redistricting process fairly and as quickly as possible.”
Tennant also reminded the lawmakers that if the legislature intends for the new districts to be in effect for the 2012 elections all voters, including potential candidates for office, need to have accurate district data made available to them in advance of the January 9 candidate filing period.
The members of the committee also heard from Brian Wood, Putnam County Clerk; Aaron Allred, Legislative Auditor; and Pat Cadle of the County Clerk’s Association.
More information on redistricting can be found on the West Virginia Legislature’s website at www.legis.state.wv.us.