Saturday, October 2, 2010

2010 Census and Redistricting

The 2010 census will affect political boundaries at all levels of government. Creating "safe" districts for officials of one party or group - jerrymandering - certainly goes on at the state and federal level. I don't, however, see it on the County level. On the county level, Township boundaries mostly influence County Board districts. Township boundaries were formed by placing a grid over the map of the county. Towns often grow into more than one Township - that is how Woodstock, for example can be part of Dorr, Seneca, Hartland and Greenwood Townships. The eastern half of Grafton Township which makes up the half of my County Board District (#5) includes parts of the towns of Huntley, Lake-In-The-Hills, Algonquin, Lakewood, and Crystal Lake. The last piece of District 5, in addition to all of Dorr Township, is a Greenwood Township Precinct #4 - part of Woodstock.

In 2011 as a result of the 2010 census all this could change. County Board District 5 could consist of different Townships and Towns. I am in favor of single member - not the current 4 - districts with fewer total Board Members. Lake County has twice the population of McHenry County and their Board has one fewer member - 23 - and they seem to do okay. Cook County has about 15 times the population and only 17 Board Members - they're called Commissioners there. I would like to see the McHenry County Board be reduced to a more manageable size of 11 or 13 - an odd number to avoid tie votes.

Although Township boundaries aren't subject to jerrymandering, they do split communities. I would like to see single member districts consist of entire towns rather than portions. So all of Woodstock should be able to fit into a single member district. Future County Board Districts should be drawn with regard for Municipal boundaries which actually signify a community not Township Boundaries. Township boundaries are totally arbitrary with regard to current municipal boundaries - but they are set in stone and unchangeable.