Delaware House releases final redistricting maps

General Assembly special session vote set for Monday

By Glenn Rolfe
Posted 10/30/21

The House of Representatives’ proposed final piece to the state of Delaware’s redistricting puzzle is in place, readying the General Assembly to consider a bill Monday that will draw new boundaries for legislative districts based on the latest U.S. Census.

You must be a member to read this story.

Join our family of readers for as little as $5.99 per month and support local, unbiased journalism.


Already a member? Log in to continue.   Otherwise, follow the link below to join.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Delaware House releases final redistricting maps

General Assembly special session vote set for Monday

Posted

DOVER — The House of Representatives’ proposed final piece to the state of Delaware’s redistricting puzzle is in place, readying the General Assembly to consider a bill Monday that will outline new boundaries for legislative districts based on the latest U.S. Census.

Final maps released Oct. 28 by the Democratic House Majority include several changes from the initial drafts published earlier in the month based on suggestions and testimony received during the public comment period.

“We took a lot of public comments and suggestions, incorporating many of them along the way,” said Doug Denison, Director of Strategic Engagement for the House Majority Caucus.

The final maps, along with other data, are available by visiting the General Assembly’s website  and clicking the “Delaware State Redistricting Information” link.

One noticeable change House of Representatives Republican Caucus Spokesman Joe Fulgham applauds is that incumbent Mike Ramone, a Republican who has served the 21st District since 2008, is no longer drawn into the neighboring 23rd District held by Democrat Paul Baumbach, the state representative for that district since 2012.

Initial mapping in the Newark area had the two incumbents living in the same election district.

“The issue we had with Rep. Mike Ramone being drawn into the 23rd District with Rep. Paul Baumbach was resolved. Rep. Ramone will remain in his 21st Representative District,” Mr. Fulgham said.

“Generally speaking, our folks are happy that our biggest concern was resolved, and all incumbents were kept in their districts, and the relationships that they had with the communities that they served for the last 10 years have been preserved.”

Some other changes include:

•Bringing the Greenville-area Barley Mill Community of Interest into the 12th District, rather than splitting it among the 12th and 4th Districts.

•Including the entirety of the Collins Park Community of Interest near New Castle in the 16th District.

•Keeping the Dove Knoll Community of Interest near Rehoboth in the 14th District.

•Moving the Peninsula on Indian River Bay Community of Interest near Long Neck into the newly constituted 4th District.

•Keeping the Community of Interest between Frederica and Milford together in the 33rd District.

Legislative redistricting is a constitutionally mandated process based on the most recent decennial U.S. Census data. The proposed maps for the House and Senate will be voted on as one piece of legislation during Monday’s special session at Legislative Hall in Dover.

If passed by the House and Senate, it will go to Gov. John Carney for his signature.

The Senate will reconvene the 1st Special Session of the 151st General Assembly at noon Monday and the House is to reconvene at 2 p.m.
Registration is open until Monday at 10 a.m. Public seating in the balcony will be on a first come, first serve basis. Those interested can register on the General Assembly’s website.

The House held two public hearings and solicited feedback via an online submission form on the proposed maps and the redistricting process itself, receiving approximately 100 public comments, including more than 30 draft maps submitted by the League of Women Voters of Delaware. These comments factored into the redistricting team’s efforts and improved the initial proposal.

Redistricting requires the General Assembly to follow a very specific, very technical set of guidelines. There are numerous criteria each district must meet, including containing a relatively similar population size and meeting guidelines concerning contiguity, compactness, communities of interest and observing natural or political boundaries, all while maintaining majority-minority districts.

“When you come out of this process it is safe to say that every legislator that has had their lines moved is going to have mixed feelings about it. They may be happy that they picked up a community that they liked … or they have dealings with a community that was outside their district and now is inside,” said Mr. Fulgham. “You always have those situations where they are happy on one hand, or they may be unhappy that they lost a community that they had a longstanding relationship with. It’s always a mixed bag coming out of this process.”

This year’s redistricting process was delayed due to the U.S. Census Bureau’s late reporting of population data to the states. Final population data was received from the Census Bureau in late September. Data is typically released in the spring.

The new legislative districts will take effect for the 2022 general election. Candidates in that election must reside in the new districts, and immediately following the Nov. 8, 2022 election, legislators will begin representing constituents within the new district lines.

On deck: Sussex County redistricting

Redistricting for Sussex County will follow state redistricting in the pecking order. Once state redistricting is approved, the county will begin the process for its five council districts.

County redistricting incorporates collaboration on election districts with the Department of Elections.

“We have to have state EDs set first, then we can start to work our maps,” said Sussex County spokesman Chip Guy.

Members and subscribers make this story possible.
You can help support non-partisan, community journalism.