BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Last year on April 1, 2020, a population census was taken, and this year, data from that census is being used to redraw West Virginia’s congressional and legislative boundary lines to ensure equal representation across the state.
“Every 10 years our country undergoes a census and following that, we are required to redraw congressional districts and legislative districts,” says WV Delegate Kayla Kessinger.
The West Virginia legislature Joint Committee on Redistricting is currently holding public hearings across the state for community member’s voices to be heard on the matter. One of these redistricting meetings was held at the Gov. Hulett C. Smith Theater at Tamarack, where the public was encouraged to be a part of the decision-making process.
“Redistricting is actually incredibly important, the lines that get drawn this year are going to be the lines that determine what our districts look like for the next 10 years,” she says.
Because of West Virginia’s population loss over the last 10 years, a congressional seat has been lost in the state, making the redrawing of these lines more important than ever, but representatives of West Virginia are hopeful for population re-growth over the next 10 years.
“It’s sad we’re losing a congressional district, but hopefully 10 years for now we will be able to bring back at least one more congressional district because so many people have moved into the state,” Kessinger adds.
Using the data from the census, the committee will come together to determine just how to redraw these district lines and then a vote will be made. While census data has been delayed this year due to the effects of COVID-19, the final vote for the redrawing of the district lines is expected to be in late fall.