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Census could affect voting in county

Changes are coming to McDuffie County in the near future that are likely to affect voting, The McDuffie Mirror has learned.

It's called reapportionment.

"I think some of the changes will be significant," said Phyllis Wheeler, who had served as local elections superintendent until taking a similar position in DeKalb County on Monday. "I can't say exactly what those changes will be, but there will be some. We have to first wait and see what the new census figures reveal."

Ms. Wheeler said the census process now under way across the United States is expected to see McDuffie County grow from about 21,550 to around 23,000 people. In comparison, there are a little more than 14,000 registered voters in McDuffie County.

"You have to maintain a population balance within the voting districts," Ms. Wheeler said.

Census counts are expected to be concluded by Dec. 31, 2010. Once new census numbers are learned - then some of what Ms. Wheeler described as the "real work" begins with reapportionment.

"There's a lot of work that has to be done when it comes to reapportionment," Ms. Wheeler said. "Our elections board will be busy during that time."

Officials throughout the country will examine those population numbers and make changes in voting lines to reflect growth wherever it might be found, she said.

Any changes in current district voting reapportionment would have to meet with the approval of the U.S. Justice Department.

"That's just standard procedure," Ms. Wheeler said. "The letter of the law must be followed when it comes to changes in district voting lines."

She is certain that there will be some population changes within the city limits of Thomson, as well as in the Dearing area.

"We've seen some growth in our population in those areas, so I'm fairly certain we will see some changes in those areas," Ms. Wheeler pointed out.



Web posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010













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