Georgetown, Del., Nov. 9, 2021: Sussex County is going to look a little different on the map for the next 10 years, politically speaking that is, as County government begins the decennial process to redraw boundaries for districts that choose their local elected officials.
County officials on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, outlined the County Council redistricting process that must be completed ahead of the 2022 election. County Attorney J. Everett Moore Jr. will head the effort, preparing a plan and proposed district maps for Council consideration at a public hearing to be scheduled in the weeks ahead.
Sussex County’s five-member County Council is the legislative body of County government, with members elected from individual districts. Each member serves a four-year term.
By law, the County, just as the State legislature does for senators and representatives, must adjust its Council districts – a process known as redistricting – following each 10-year census to equally distribute the population among the five County Council districts.
As part of the redistricting effort, County government is inviting the public to offer suggestions on how new Council districts should be drawn. The public can submit ideas by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by standard mail. Letters should be addressed to the Clerk of the Sussex County Council, PO Box 589, Georgetown, DE 19947.
Written and email correspondence will be accepted through 4:30 p.m. Dec. 1, 2021.
As Delaware and other states were late in beginning their reapportionment processes this year because of delays receiving the census data from the federal government, local communities like Sussex County must quickly commence their work, albeit months behind schedule. Still, County officials expect the process to be complete by no later than early 2022, in time for County Council candidates to meet residency requirements and file for offices on the ballot next year.
Based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 population results for Delaware, Sussex County’s population increased more than 20 percent between 2010 and 2020, from 197,145 residents to 237,378 residents.
Given those figures, each of the newly drawn Council districts would encompass an average of 47,475 residents. Each district must be within 5 percent of that average, containing no fewer than 45,101 residents and no more than 49,849 residents.
County officials have received the 2020 Census data, as well as redistricting maps for the Delaware House of Representatives, and will look at a number of factors, including keeping together communities of interest, historical trends, and locations of state elections polling places, when drawing the new Council boundaries. New County Council district maps will be drawn in accordance with all federal and State requirements, officials said.
Once the redistricting proposal is complete, copies of the draft plan and the proposed district maps will be available for public inspection on the County’s website at sussexcountyde.gov. The proposal also will be subject to a public hearing later this winter. Notice of that meeting will be advertised in advance.
A map of the County’s current Council districts can be downloaded from the following link: https://sussexcountyde.gov/sussex-county-district-map
County Council President Michael H. Vincent said redistricting is the public’s opportunity, just as elections are every two years, to have a voice in who represents them.
“This is an essential part of building the government that represents you, your neighbors, and the communities that make up Sussex County,” Mr. Vincent said. “This is, quite literally, shaping our community’s future, at least for the next 10 years, so I encourage residents to get involved.”