Commission opts to leave voting districts intact

Updated: Apr 9

MOUND CITY – On Monday, March 21, the Linn County Commissioners decided that the change in the population of their commission districts after the 2020 Census did not justify changing the boundaries at this time.

County Clerk David Lamb told the commissioners that state statute that requires government entities to rearrange districts is 19-204. The statute says the county must be divided into districts that are as compact and equal in population as possible.

“Which kind of leaves it open to some interpretation of what is compact and equal,” said Lamb. “It is subject to alteration every three years, and now, since we just got through a census and got new numbers, this is definitely the time we need to look at it.”

Lamb told the commissioners that he went through and compared what the average would be if it was exactly the same among the districts.

He gave the commissioners the result of the 2020 Census. Commission District 1 has 34.6 percent of the Linn County population while District 2 has 32.39 percent, and District 3 has 32.98 percent. He told them that made them within 2 percent between the districts.

He said that he looked at voting precincts to see if it was possible to make the districts closer in numbers that would even be worth taking a look at.

Lamb said he did not really find much. About the only thing that would get it a little bit closer would be switching South Lincoln and Paris precincts between District ! and District 2. He said that does get it slightly closer to being equal, but there is still about 1.5 percent over all, which would be a difference of about 45 people in population.

Lamb said to him it was not worth changing it for a difference of 45 people, and it would also create another issue for the county because the current District 1 commissioner, Rick James, lives in South Lincoln. If the county were to change that, James would not be eligible to run for that position again, said Lamb.

The county would have to go through a converter system and change everyone in those districts to a new district, said Lamb.

Lamb said that, if Linn Valley area continued to grow, it might need to be done in another three or four years. James agreed with him.

Lamb told the commissioners that it was really the decision of the commissioners to make, and he was just looking at it from his viewpoint.

Commissioner Rick James said he did not see any reason to change it at this time.

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