In recent days, state lawmakers have been hearing various plans for redrawing the three congressional districts. It's important now to emphasize the word "hearing" - that's opposed to seeing.
One of those proposals, Senate Bill 199, splits Randolph County between the 2nd District and 3rd District. Where exactly is a good question. The bill lists Randolph County in both districts. It also includes "blocks" and voting districts, which are specified as "geographic areas as defined by the Bureau of the Census of the United States Department of Commerce for the taking of the 2010 census of population and described on census maps prepared by the Bureau of the Census." It could be presumed that these voting districts are precincts; but if so, is it based on the polling places from the most recent election or those boundary adjustments approved by the Randolph County Commission at the end of last year?
What would be most helpful in understanding the proposed division of Randolph County is a map. The presentation of Senate Bill 199 on the Legislature's website doesn't include a map. A couple of our representatives in Charleston say they haven't seen one either. A handful of Randolph County residents have contacted The Inter-Mountain wanting to know when a map will be available, and county commissioners say they'd like to see one, too.
Merely explaining the division proposal to lawmakers just doesn't cut it. It also makes us wonder about the intentions behind the exclusion of a map.
For now, we have a few other things to keep in mind. Senate Bill 199 isn't the only redistricting proposal on the table. In fact, Sen. Clark Barnes, R-Randolph, introduced a version that keeps Randolph County united. Delegate Bill Hartman, D-Randolph, tells us the issue is "a long way from being settled" as the fate of the previously struck-down version of the congressional districts hangs in the balance of the courts.
So, it seems, a lot of different scenarios could come into play. While we're waiting, that should give the sponsors of Senate Bill 199 plenty of time to have someone put together a map.