Lawmakers in West Virginia’s House of Delegates voted overwhelmingly this week to reorganize the state’s electoral map into 100 single-member delegates districts, a move that could provide stronger representation for the deep south counties.
At the present time, the House’s 100 members together represent 67 districts. The Republican-sponsored bill, which passed the House by a vote of 72-25, would have lawmakers representing about 18,000 constituents each after the 2020 Census, evenly dividing the state’s nearly 1.8 million residents between them.
The move appears to be logical for a number of reasons. First it would abolish the use of multi-member districts, which can be confusing for constituents who often do not know who their lawmaker is. The move would also create more accountability, and provide a greater focus on individual neighborhoods within the district. In other words, constituents within neighborhoods would, with hope, get to know their delegate a lot better.
Mercer County, for example, is the 27th District (a precinct of which is also located in Raleigh County), with Delegates Marty Gearheart, John Shott and Joe Ellington, all Republicans, representing the district.
If the legislation passed by the House eventually becomes law, each delegate would have a separate district, basically dividing the county into three districts.
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