Municipal redistricting timelines, details begin to emerge in Nevada

By: - September 23, 2021 6:01 am

While the pace has slowed, Southern Nevada has continued to grow over the past decade. (Photo by Ronda Churchill for Nevada Current)

Several Nevada cities have announced their timeline for the redrawing of their political district maps, catching up on a process that has been delayed by the pandemic.

Reapportionment and redistricting — that is, the redrawing of political districts so they ideally represent equal swaths of the total population — happens every 10 years after the completion of the decennial census. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed 2020 census collections nationally and forced Nevada’s redistricting timeline to be postponed.

Details on the redistricting of the state’s four congressional districts and 63 state legislative districts haven’t yet been made public, but elected officials and staff have previously said the process is expected to be completed through a special session sometime before the end of the calendar year.

But municipalities appear poised to get back on track in advance of the 2022 election cycle. Some cities may see significant shifts in their ward or district boundaries to account for their fast-growing populations. Nevada’s total population grew by 15% from 2010 to 2020, but that growth was concentrated in the urban areas of Clark and Washoe counties. Many rural counties and towns saw their populations decrease.

In Northern Nevada, the City of Reno announced this week it plans to present preliminary redrawn maps at a public meeting on Oct. 7, with final maps presented at another public meeting two weeks later on Oct. 21 and then presented to Reno City Council on Oct. 27.

With a current population of more than 264,000 residents, Reno has added more than 38,000 people to its population since 2010, according to the new census data. Ward 2, which includes south Reno, grew the most -- ballooning by 33% or 15,000 residents. The more established Ward 1 grew at the slowest pace -- by 9.7% or 4,300 residents.

The Washoe County School Board is following a similar timeline. Washoe County School District staff is expected to present new maps during its school board meeting on Oct. 12, with the final boundary maps up for a vote by the trustees at the subsequent meeting on Oct. 26.

WCSD noted in a presentation to trustees earlier this month that the Washoe County Registrar of Voters has requested final boundary maps be approved and delivered to their office by Nov. 1.

It’s unclear whether the Clark County Registrar of Voters has requested any sort timeline be followed in Southern Nevada, but at least one municipality is planning on approving its updated maps within the upcoming month.

A Clark County spokesperson said staff are in the process of redrawing maps in accordance with local and federal requirements and that “the maps will be taken to the board for consideration/adoption at a future public meeting.”

But no timeline for that process was provided.

The City of Henderson plans to introduce its ward boundary changes at its Oct. 5 city council meeting. Action on the redrawn maps, which a spokesperson notes can include approval or directing staff to offer alternative maps, is tentatively scheduled for the city council’s meeting on Oct. 19.

Henderson has added nearly 60,000 residents over the past decade, according to census data. That represents a 23% change, one of the fastest in the state. The state’s second largest city by population, Henderson now has more than 317,600 residents. Notably, its Ward 3, which roughly encompasses the portion of the city that is west of Lake Mead Parkway and north of the railroad tracks, is now a minority majority district.

The City of Las Vegas is tentatively planning to introduce its updated redistricting maps at its Nov. 17 city council meeting and adopt the maps at its Dec. 1 meeting. Prior to the November council meeting, the city is planning on hosting a public viewing of the redistricting maps, but the date has not been finalized, according to a city spokesperson.

Las Vegas has added just over 58,000 residents to its population since 2010 -- a 10% change over the decade. That brings its current population to nearly 642,000.

The City of North Las Vegas is currently working with an independent consultant to redraw its districts, according to a city spokesperson, and will post them online for the public review once completed. Feedback will be taken during city council meetings or online. North Las Vegas City Council expects to approve their maps in a meeting in November, though no specific dates were provided by the spokesperson.

North Las Vegas has added more than 45,000 residents since 2010, bringing its current population to more than 262,000. North Las Vegas' population is now roughly 1,600 behind Reno's and growing at a faster pace.

Clark County School District announced this week it will hold a redistricting information session on Monday, Sept. 27 where officials are expected to provide the public with a timeline and other information about how the public can participate in the process. The district declined to provide any information in advance, saying via email only that the information session would provide such information.

Redrawn political maps must be approved by their respective public bodies before candidate filing begins, or else municipalities face the possibility of legal challenges. For Nevada’s 2022 election cycle, judicial nominations begin in January and non-judicial candidate filing begins in March.

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April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus

April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. She has been a beat writer at Las Vegas Sun, a staff writer at LEO Weekly, web editor of Las Vegas Weekly and a blogger documenting North American bike share systems’ efforts to increase ridership in underserved communities. An occasional adjunct journalism professor, April steadfastly rejects the notion that journalism is a worthless major. Amid the Great Recession, she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. She later earned an M.A. in media studies and a graduate certificate in media management from The New School for Public Engagement. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, two children and two mutts.

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