Georgetown, Del., Dec. 14, 2021: All five of Sussex County Council’s districts would change, with some growing and others contracting, as officials and the public get their first look at a new map that could reshape the local political landscape in the decade ahead.
County Attorney J. Everett Moore Jr. on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, presented to County Council a draft map – influenced by public suggestions solicited earlier this fall when the County launched its redistricting process – that reimagines the five districts each Council member represents. The boundaries must be reviewed every 10 years, following the federal census, and adjusted to account for any population shifts.
Tuesday’s map unveiling was the latest step in the redistricting process Sussex County and other jurisdictions across the United States must complete, by law, following each decennial census to equally distribute their populations among elected representative districts.
Mr. Moore presented a proposed map that will be available on the County’s website for the public to view, beginning today. The public can then submit comments, either electronically or by standard mail, for a month-long period. Following that, Mr. Moore will report back to Council in mid-January before a formal ordinance and final draft map are introduced for Council consideration and action early 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 Council district must be within plus or minus 5 percent of an ideal population of 47,475 residents, containing no fewer than 45,101 residents and no more than 49,849 residents.
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 are moving quickly to set new boundaries in time for the 2022 election cycle. County officials expect the redistricting process to be complete in early 2022, in time for Council candidates to file for offices on the ballot next year.
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.
Based on Mr. Moore’s proposed map presented Tuesday, all five of the Councilmanic districts would see their borders – and the communities they encompass – change to account for population increases, particularly in eastern portions of the county. Districts 1 through 4 would align close to the four corners of the county, with District 5 shifting to occupy a more central position within the area.
The proposed map is available on the County’s website at www.sussexcountyde.gov.
As was the case when the redistricting process began in early November, the public is invited to offer comments on the proposed map. The public can submit comments 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. Friday, Jan. 7, 2022.
The proposed districts and ordinance will be subject to a public hearing early next year. Notice of that meeting will be advertised in advance.