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Ahead of commissioners’ last meeting, Elkhart County redistricting plans have yet to be approved

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Every 10 years, state and local lawmakers are required to redraw their election districts based on new census data. Due to state delays, however, Elkhart County has yet to approve its plans.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Elkhart County’s population has grown by about 4.5 percent over the last decade. Even so, County Attorney Craig Buche said he doesn’t expect council or commissioner districts to change. 

 

“Those districts have been in place for the last 10 years, and we anticipate that the number of voters in each of those areas will be consistent with the state and federal requirements and that no changes will be necessary,” Buche said at the County Board of Commissioners meeting Monday. 

 

The county is currently represented by seven council members – three at-large representatives and four district representatives – and three commissioners. All four district council seats and the District 1 Commissioner seat are up for election in 2022.

 

“Again, the good news is that we do not anticipate any significant changes,” Buch said. “So there would be absolutely no concerns with any elected officials not being within their appropriate districts for purposes of the next election.

 

The commissioners still have to approve the districts, but they can’t do it yet – Buche said the attorney’s office is still waiting for the Office of Census Data and the Indiana Election Division to approve its plans.

 

When asked why Elkhart County was still waiting for approval when other counties have completed their redistricting process, Buche said he wasn’t sure – but that it was an issue at the state level, rather than local.

 

“Obviously they have 92 counties to address,” he said. “And they’re behind the eight ball, you might say, in terms of the time to get these done.” 

 

Buche said the county is in a “time crunch” to conclude the process before the end of the year, with the filing window for 2022 local elections opening Jan. 12.

 

The commissioners final meeting of the year is Dec. 20, but they said Monday they would consider calling a special virtual meeting in the last week of the month to approve the plans if necessary.

 

In the meantime, Buche said he'll push for state approval by the commissioners’ meeting next week.

 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said Elkhart County is represented by nine council members. That was incorrect. It's represented by seven council members.

 

Contact Gemma atgdicarlo@wvpe.orgor follow her on Twitter at@gemma_dicarlo.

 

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Gemma DiCarlo comes to Indiana by way of Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and certificates in New Media and Sustainability. She has radio experience from her time as associate producer of Athens News Matters, the flagship public affairs program at WUGA-FM.