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Redistricting proposal For Addison County would alter local House districts

Posted June 21, 2011

Source: Addison Independent, 6/20/11, by John Flowers

“MONTPELIER — The Vermont Apportionment Board (VAB) has drafted a controversial new map that re-draws several Addison County House districts and even splits one local town — Monkton.

The new map, which will set the boundaries for House districts that will be contested in the 2012 election, must be endorsed by the Legislature before it becomes law.

The seven-member VAB was charged late last year with redrawing House and Senate district lines to reflect the 2010 census numbers in a manner that is consistent with the Constitutional standard of “one person, one vote.”

Former state Sen. Gerry Gossens, a Salisbury Democrat, was one of three political party appointees to the VAB, which is chaired by former Rep. Tom Little, R-Shelburne. Little was appointed by Vermont Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Reiber.

Other political appointees on the panel include former Vermont Republican Committee Chairman Rob Roper; and former Rep. Steve Hingtgen, a Burlington progressive.

Republican James Douglas, who was governor at the time, was also allowed three appointments. He selected Republican (and former state Transportation Secretary) Neale Lunderville, St. Albans Democrat Frank Cioffi and Progressive Meg Brook of South Burlington.

The committee began its work last November, pouring over new federal census numbers and plugging them into new computer software called “Maptitude.” The Maptitude program allows users to scroll over a state map and instantly get the updated town-by-town census numbers and shift them around to produce different House district variations.

Gossens explained the VAB set out with the goal of allotting 4,173 residents per state representative, and not deviate from that number by more than 7 percent. That figure was arrived at by dividing Vermont’s 2010 population total (625,741) by the number of House districts (150). The challenge for the VAB was refiguring those districts to reflect new demographic trends that show a population boost in northern Vermont and a decrease in the southern part of the state…”

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