The City Council held a series of Public Hearings in Contois Auditorium, City Hall (149 Church Street), and heard public comment on the three ward redistricting plans referred to the Council by the Redistricting Committee on June 4, 2013. The public hearing dates were:
- Monday, July 15, 2013
- Monday, August 12, 2013
- Monday, September 9, 2013
Redistricting is the process of adjusting electoral district boundaries to meet U.S. Constitutional requirements of equal representation. To ensure equal representation, the city has a responsibility to redraw ward boundaries and get voter and legislative approval for a charter change as soon as possible. The courts have determined that except in extraordinary circumstances, the difference between the highest and lowest number of people a city councilor represents should be less than 10%. The results of the 2010 US Census show that Ward 1 voters are under-represented, and Ward 4 and 7 voters are over-represented by the current system.
Currently, Burlington is divided into seven wards. The city's new districting plan is not limited to the current configuration. The new plan can involve any number of wards and councilors, as long as it provides approximately equal representation to all Burlington residents.
State law provides some policies that can be used to guide the redistricting process. These include:
- Preserve existing political subdivision lines;
- Keep neighborhoods intact; and
- Use districts that are compact and contiguous.
Redistricting plans generally use the boundaries of "Census Blocks" - the groupings of houses and apartment buildings that are the smallest unit that the census uses. Plans can deviate from Census blocks if the City can show that the population count in split blocks is accurate. | Census Block Map |
Process for Developing and Approving a New Districting Plan
The City Council has appointed a Redistricting Committee that is composed of a representative from each of the seven Neighborhood Planning Assemblies (NPA's), four City Councilors and the mayor. The committee is charged with making a recommendation to the City Council in June. A City Council approved plan would then go to the voters.
If the voters of Burlington approve the Plan, it will be submitted to the State Legislature for formal adoption as a change to the City's Charter.