BERRYVILLE — Recent population growth and state legislative redistricting won’t force any Clarke County residents to change voting districts.
The Clarke County Board of Supervisors decided by consensus on Tuesday not to redraw the county’s five districts.
“I think it’s less confusing to leave them like they are,” said White Post District Supervisor Bev McKay. “I see no reason to confuse people.”
General Assembly and congressional districts were redrawn based on 2020 Census data and recently approved by the Virginia Supreme Court. The data showed that Clarke County’s population increased from 14,034 in 2010 to 14,807 in 2020.
Based on the population growth and state laws, each of the county’s five voting districts should have an “ideal population” of 2,961, according to County Administrator Chris Boies.
Specific districts at least must be within plus or minus 5% of that number, or have a population between 2,813 and 3,109, Boies said.
Each of Clarke’s districts is within that range. The Russell District is the most populous with 3,082 residents, followed by the Millwood District with 3,021, the Berryville District with 2,997, the White Post District with 2,880 and the Buckmarsh District with 2,827.
Divide the county’s updated population of 14,807 by the five districts and the result is 2,961.4. As a result, the supervisors theoretically could redraw the lines so two districts each have 2,962 residents and three districts each have 2,961. Boise emphasized that “you’re not going to get an exact equal number” within districts.
The supervisors must schedule a public hearing to update the population figures in Chapter 40 of the County Code, which concerns voting districts. They likely will do that during their regular monthly meeting next Tuesday.
Clarke County currently is in state Senate District 27, represented by Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Upperville, and the 10th Congressional District, represented by Democratic U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton. Parts of the county also are in two state House districts — the 10th, represented by Del. Wendy Gooditis, D-Boyce; and the 33rd, represented by Del. Dave LaRock, R-Hamilton.
Redistricting will put the county in state Senate District 1 alongside Winchester and Frederick, Warren and Shenandoah counties. The county will be in only one state House district, the 31st, with Warren and southeastern areas of Frederick up to Winchester’s southeastern border. It also will become part of the 6th Congressional District along with Winchester, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Waynesboro and Frederick, Shenandoah, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Rockbridge, Botetourt, Allegheny, Bath and Highland counties, plus part of Roanoke County, maps indicate.
The new districts are set to become effective with the next general election for the respective offices: 2022 for Congress and 2023 for the state house and senate. However, a pending lawsuit is seeking for the new districts to be fully imposed this fall.