Pittsylvania County faces a time crunch for its redistricting process.
The county must redraw the lines for its seven magisterial districts following the 2020 census, but will have less time to do it compared to 10 years ago.
Following the 2010 U.S. Census 10 years ago, the county’s geographic information system coordinator did the work and had nine months to complete the task.
“This time, the preliminary Census data needed to begin redistricting isn’t even available yet, and all of the data won’t be available until sometime in September,” said county spokesman Caleb Ayers. “This means we will only have about three months to complete the entire process.”
The county must submit its redistricting plans to Virginia’s attorney general by Dec. 31.
Pittsylvania County’s seven districts include Chatham-Blairs, Tunstall, Callands-Gretna, Banister, Staunton River, Dan River and Westover.
In years past before the 2011 redistricting process, the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors appointed a redistricting committee that could confer with a consultant on how to redraw the districts, or they used county staff.
Federal law mandates that districts be designed so they are evenly populated with little difference between them.
According to a tentative redistricting timeline for the county, Pittsylvania officials hope to share redistricting plans with the public Nov. 1, with the board of supervisors holding a public hearing on the proposed design Nov. 16.
Supervisors would consider adoption of the ordinance to redistrict the county Dec. 21 and submit redistricting plans to the state attorney general for certification Dec. 31.
Redistricting will not be complete in time for the county’s board of supervisors and school board elections in November for the Dan River, Banister and Callands-Gretna districts.
According to a July 1, 2019, estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau, Pittsylvania County’s population is 60,354.
Population data from the U.S. Census is used to redraw local, state and Congressional districts every 10 years.
The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the census bureau’s collection and processing of information for the 2020 Census, bureau acting director Ron Jarmin wrote on the bureau’s website.
“During data processing, we prioritized the work needed to deliver the constitutionally mandated apportionment results,” he wrote. “These delays pushed back our delivery of the redistricting data to the states.”