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Hickory council has four months to approve redistricting maps
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Hickory council has four months to approve redistricting maps

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Hickory Wards

The Hickory City Council will seek public input as it redraws the map of its six wards. The task must be complete by Dec. 17 at the latest.

The city of Hickory is one of the many governments that will need to redraw its district maps following the release of 2020 census data.

On Tuesday, the Hickory City Council heard from an attorney and a demographic expert who outlined the process of redistricting.

The city is working with Deborah Stagner of the Raleigh law firm Tharrington Smith and their demographer Blake Esselstyn with the firm Mapfigure Consulting.

The duo explained the city will need to redistrict because the city uses wards for its council elections and the populations within the city’s six wards were far enough away from the ideal district size that redistricting is necessary.

Esselstyn told the council the city had grown 8.7% since the last census — from a population of 40,010 in 2010 to a population of 43,490 at the 2020 census.

Stagner told the council they cannot approve maps that are discriminatory on the basis of race.

Some factors the council can take into consideration include defining districts based on easily recognizable geographic features like roads or waterways, keeping established communities in the same district and creating districts in a way that anticipates growth.

Stagner said Esselstyn will present a few options to council and that the council will need to hold at least one public hearing on the matter.

The council will have to approve the criteria to be used in reshaping the districts.

The deadline to have the redrawn maps approved is Nov. 17, though it could be pushed back to Dec. 17 if additional time is needed.

Kevin Griffin is the city of Hickory reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.

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