BEAUFORT – The 2020 census results show that the population of Carteret County is generally moving westward, a change reflected in the recently adopted electoral district maps that will be in effect for the next 10 years.
The Carteret County Council of Commissioners held a special meeting on September 27 to review and approve the new maps, which were created by staff based on updated population data released by the US Census Bureau earlier this year. . Data showed that Carteret County’s population has grown by around 2% since 2010, although the growth has not occurred equally across the county.
In general, the western end of the county – towns like Cape Carteret and areas along the Highway 24 corridor – have gained residents, while the Down East areas have largely lost them. The change meant that the county’s electoral district boundaries had to be adjusted to ensure that each district represents roughly the same number of residents, within a margin of plus or minus 5%, as required by the laws of the State.
“The ideal population per commissioner required moving districts west to maintain the ideal population balance,” County Director Tommy Burns said Sept. 27. “… All of the proposed new districts are in the ideal population balance, they use natural boundaries and follow established census tracts, which are additional considerations Commissioners should take into account when adopting new districts.
Carteret County is made up of six electoral districts represented by seven commissioners, with one commissioner per district, with the exception of District 3 which has two. The County Board of Education uses the same electoral district maps, with six districts represented by seven council members.
With the population of Carteret County totaling 67,686 at the 2020 census, the ideal population per commissioner was determined at 9,670, doubling to 19,340 for District 3.
For example, under the old boundaries, District 6, currently represented by Commissioner Chris Chadwick and encompassing Down East and North and South River, had a population of 8,251. This in relation to District 1, currently represented by Commissioner Robin Comer and covering western Carteret County, with 11,734. The figures represent the population after the 2020 census enumeration, but before the redistribution took effect. .
Other districts were closer to the target population, but still had to be adjusted to be within the necessary range of 5% of the ideal population.
To account for the imbalance, the boundaries of District 6 have shifted slightly southward to encompass more of the eastern corridor of Highway 101, just north of Beaufort. Beaufort proper remains in District 5, currently represented by Commissioner Ed Wheatly, whose boundaries have shifted west to now encompass part of Crab Point in Morehead City. The district also includes Mill Creek and has moved slightly west to now include Newport Loop Road.
The boundaries of District 4, currently represented by Commissioner Jimmy Farrington, which previously covered Bogue Banks and a small portion of downtown Morehead City, have shifted north to now include Cedar Point and Cape Carteret, which were previously part District 1. The eastern boundary of District 1, which includes Bogue, Peletier and parts of the Highway 24 corridor, has remained roughly the same.
District 2, currently represented by Commissioner Chuck Shinn and covering Newport and surrounding areas, had to move its boundaries south to include more of the Highway 70 corridor. On the other hand, District 3, represented by Commissioners Mark Mansfield and Bob Cavanaugh and covering Morehead City and the eastern portions of the Highway 24 and Highway 70 corridors, has lost ground overall, although it has returned to downtown of Morehead City.
None of the county commissioners or school board members will be moved from the districts in which they currently serve, based on the new electoral map boundaries.
The commissioners mentioned that there had been discussions about the possibility of splitting District 3, giving the county seven electoral districts for a 1: 1 ratio between the districts and the commissioners, but they decided not to move on. forward with this recut cycle. The next time that could be considered is when the electoral maps are adjusted again after the 2030 census.
“I think the next census, if things turn out the way they are, there’s going to be another shift westward,” Mr. Comer said. “… For the next evaluation of this, I would very much like this district to separate. So you have corridor (from highway) 24 which has its own representative. “
Mr Burns noted that such a change would require an amendment to the sessional law that established the current district allocation in Carteret County.
Carteret County Voters’ League representative Ralph Hall of Atlantic Beach attended the special meeting of commissioners on September 27 and made a public comment asking council to share a full set of criteria that he used to establish the new district boundaries. . He also asked the commissioners to wait until the public has more time to review the proposed maps before making a final decision on the maps.
Mr Burns noted, however, that “time is running out” to adopt the new cards as they must be in place at least 150 days before the primary elections scheduled for Tuesday 8 March. Changes to constituency boundaries will not affect the unexpired term. a commissioner.
After discussion, the Council of Commissioners voted unanimously, in the absence of Commissioner Farrington, to approve a resolution adopting the new constituency map.
To view a GIS version of the new district map, visit https://arcgisweb.carteretcountync.gov/maps/, and activate the “Commissioner Districts” option under the “Layers” tab.
To learn more about the Carteret County election, including research to see if the changes are affecting your address, visit carteretcountync.gov/434/Board-of-Elections.
Contact Elise Clouser at [email protected]; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.