Castle Rock's growing population, especially in the Meadows area near Founders Parkway, has caused the town's election districts to be thrown off balance and will require redistricting by the election commission.
The town has 38,000 registered voters. The largest district is District 3 in the Meadows area, with a total of 6,492, and the smallest is District 7 in the Castlewood Ranch area, with 4,446 voters.
Redistricting was last implemented by the town in 2010. Since then, Castle Rock has gained 10,000 new registered voters.
“We are clearly out of compliance with our charter, so the charter requires that we make changes to the boundaries in order to make sure the district with the lowest number of registered voters is at least 85 percent of the district with the highest number of registered voters,” Castle Rock Town Clerk Sally Misare said.
It will be the task of the town election commission to sift through the district map and find the areas where voters can be moved from one district to another in order to create balance.
While some districts will be able to be adjusted by incorporating small swatches of highly populated areas, others like District 4 will need to incorporate more area.
“District 4 has 4,840 voters and needs to have voters added to it,” Misare said. “That's the downtown district for the most part. It's not growing population-wise, so it clearly has to grow geographically.”
The commission said they try and keep “communities of interest,” such as subdivisions, in the same district.
The redistricting will not affect town elected officials who are currently serving. They will serve out their terms. If an elected official is moved into a new district, he or she would need to run for election in that new district during the next election.
In the Meadows area, Mayor Paul Donahue (District 1) and Mayor Pro Tem Jennifer Green (District 3) will both be term-limited after serving the remainder of their current terms.
Some of the suggestions brought up by the commission included:
• Moving the western boundary of District 1 to be Meadows Boulevard — this would include moving a small area that is currently in District 3 to District 1 in the north as well.
• Moving District 4 northeast toward the Woodlands and possibly moving the district south to encompass Baldwin Park.
• Making changes near Founders Parkway and Castlewood Ranch that would move voters from District 5 to District 7.
“We always try and use natural boundaries. We try and use streets. We try and use parks. We try and use fairways on golf courses, anything that is a natural boundary so we can say are you east or west of this particular thing so that it makes it easier for us when people call us and ask what district they're in,” Misare said.
These were just preliminary suggestions and the election commission will meet two more times before finalizing the new districts. Town staff will research the suggested areas and crunch numbers to determine the feasibility of any changes and the domino effect they may have on the other districts.
The commissions' goal is to have an average of 5,517 voters per district and have the new map finalized by March 1.
The next election commission meeting is scheduled for Feb.4 at town hall and is open to the public.
As required by the town charter, the election commission will re-evaluate districts in 2015, 2021 and every six years thereafter.
“We want to try and look at growth areas but also look at areas where we can get a redistricting that's going to last,” Misare said.
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