Police Jury to hear reapportionment plansPolice Jury to hear reapportionment plans
The Acadia Parish Police Jury will consider getting a jump start on the reapportionment that will come as a result of the 2020 Census.
Mike Hefner of Geographic Planning and Demographic Services told members of the jury’s Legislative Committee that state law will allow the parish to examine and possible re-establish precincts in advance of the actual reapportionment, “but the deadline to do this is the end of December.”
Acadia currently has 55 voting precincts. Hefner said he believes that number can be reduced to “about 46 going into reapportionment.”
That would help to reduce the cost to the parish for elections “since it costs about $3,000 per precinct, per election,” he added.
Hefner was invited to present his plan to the full jury when it meets next Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Reapportionment is the redistribution of representation in a legislative body, especially the periodic reallotment of U.S. congressional seats according to changes in the census figures as required by the Constitution.
Reapportionment applies to any “local governing authority, including but not limited to any police jury, city or parish council, or school board which is required under the constitution or laws of this state or of the United States to reapportion its voting districts following each decennial census.”
Louisiana law provides a mandatory six-month timeframe after the official release of the census for all parish governing authorities which provide for the election of its members from wards, districts, or other subdivisions to examine the apportionment plan of its body to determine if there exists any substantial variation in the representation of the election districts and then adopt an ordinance by a majority of its members to either (1) declare its apportionment to be equitable and continue its existing apportionment plan or (2) provide for a new apportionment plan.
The law further provides that the boundaries of any election district for a new apportionment plan shall contain whole election precincts established by the parish governing authority (unless certain exceptions apply). Additionally, municipalities who are elected by districts, school boards, and city councils shall each examine their respective voting districts under their current apportionment plan to determine whether or not there is a substantial variation. At that time, they will adopt an ordinance either confirming their voting districts are equitable or providing a new plan.
If it is determined that a new plan is needed, the governing body will then meet to discuss possible changes to the voting districts. State law provide that failure to meet the time for reapportionment by local governing bodies is malfeasance in office and may subject the governing authority to a loss of state revenue sharing funds.