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What's your district now? Lee County commissioners adopt redistricting proposal
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What's your district now? Lee County commissioners adopt redistricting proposal

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2021 Lee County redistricting map

Lee County commissioners adopted this map after receiving data from the 2020 census.

Lee County’s commission lines are shifting, and residents on the border of one district may find themselves in another represented by a different commissioner in the county’s upcoming primary election in May.

County commissioners unanimously approved a proposed redistricted map at their Monday meeting which Lee County Probate Judge Bill English, who chairs the county commission, drew up with help from staff Amanda Sides and Ken Busby. The process began in September when usable data from the 2020 census became available to municipal and regional governments.

“Plus or minus 19% (of residents per district) is the worst I’ve done, and this is my third cycle of doing this,” English said to commissioners at the meeting.

The redistricting resolved population imbalances where District 1 was overpopulated by 4.8%, according to the commission, and other districts were considered underpopulated.

In the newly adopted map, among the most noticeable adjustments are Beat 12 in southeast Lee County, which now includes more of District 3 up to Lee Road 199. In addition, Beat 3 in northeast Lee County, where Gold Hill is located, was previously part of District 1 but will now be represented in District 4.

English said District 2, which encompasses a large swath of Auburn, was the most challenging area in this year’s redistricting.

“District 2 was the hardest (to redraw) because it doesn’t have a border with the (county line),” he said. “I was able to pick up where Choctafaula Creek crosses I-85 and work around the district from there.”

At the county commission’s Oct. 12 meeting, English had said four commissioners represented East Alabama Medical Center with four district lines meeting in that area, but at Monday’s meeting, he said the redistricting has reduced that to three districts.

During a second and final public hearing on the redistricting proposal, members of Lee County NAACP Branch 5038 stood before commissioners to voice their full support of the now adopted map.

Joshua Lewis, of Branch 5038, cited the 1986 Alabama Supreme Court case Dillard v. Crenshaw County in giving his approval. The outcome of the case created a minority-majority district in Lee County, which was also referenced in the commission’s resolution to adopt the proposal.

Billy Allen, president of Branch 5038, told commissioners while his organization is satisfied with the redistricted map, they’d still like to see more members added to the Lee County Commission to create stronger racial and ethnic representation.

“We plan to work with you as partners,” Allen said. “This is not adversary — we want to make Lee County one of the best counties in the state, but we do think that it needs to be more diverse and inclusive and we will work to increase the number of districts here in Lee County.”

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