Relatively small changes are foreseen for Justice of the Peace voting districts in the county. The districts, which change each 10 years to reflected updated census data, are currently in review by the Faulkner County Election Commission.
The proposed map revisions were presented at the commission meeting Wednesday, Oct. 20. This was the first meeting for county Election Coordinator Laura Wiles.
The maps were prepared by a service, EFS Geotechnologies, which uses a number of sources to determine district size and shape, Faulkner County Clerk Margaret Darter explained.
JP District 1, in the northeast, grows slightly in the proposed map, with District 2, Greenbrier area, losing some territory. District 3, the Vilonia area, also receives some minor changes. In all cases existing Justices of the Peace remain within their district.
The primary factor in the mapping is the county population, 123,428 at the last census, divided across the 13 JP districts. Population must be distributed equally between these districts, with a 5 percent plus-or-minus factor to meet all criteria, Darter said.
Darter also explained that a factor in the apportionment is the number of ballots as would be required in an election, dividing the county into “Ballot Districts.” Since JP districts overlaps school districts, for example, a situation could be created where two across-the-street neighbors would not have the same election ballot unless care is taken in boundary creation. This is why the districts are often in displaced shapes, in order to keep the ballot number manageable while maintaining a plus-or-minus 5 percent population distribution, Darter explained.
The commission is review boundaries outlined and will submit questions to EFS regarding methodology while reviewing possible changes to the proposed map.
“The more we change the more people will need to be notified,” Darter reminded the commission.
Commission head Rob Denning said the changes, which will ultimately be submitted to the Quorum Court and the state, will take some time before final approval is made. He was not willing to project a final date.