Clark County approves new political maps, including 2nd Hispanic majority district

By: - November 3, 2021 6:30 am

Nevada is one of the most diverse states in the country. That diversity is led in the state by Clark County where only 39.4% of people identify as white, non-Hispanic. (Photo by Ronda Churchill for Nevada Current)

The Clark County Commission on Tuesday approved updated political boundary lines for its seven districts, completing the once-a-decade process known as redistricting.

Two of the county’s seven districts now have Hispanic majorities. The populations of District D and District E are now both 50.01% Hispanic. Previously, only District D was majority Hispanic.

Dave Heller, the national consultant hired by the county to redraw the maps, has said the sitting commissioners prioritized the creation of a second Hispanic majority district in hopes it will eventually lead to better representation on the elected board.

None of the current commissioners are Hispanic.

To achieve the goal of having two majority Hispanic districts, predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods within District D were moved into District E.

Represented by Commissioner William McCurdy, District D includes downtown, the Historic Westside and parts of east and North Las Vegas. Represented by Commissioner Tick Segerblom, District E includes centrally located parts of the county and moves eastward to Sunrise Manor.

Some community groups are concerned the new maps will pit sizable minority groups against one another.

“Having Latino representation is great since right now there is none,” said Mathilda Guerrero, democracy manager at Silver State Voices. “But this will put the Latino community against the Black community.”

District D has the biggest share of Black residents: 22% of its population.

Only 25% of the district’s residents identify as white.

Notably, white people make up less than 50% of the total population in five of seven of the newly approved districts, according to county presentation materials. Only District C and District G have white populations greater than 50%. Those two districts are represented by Commissioners Ross Miller and Jim Gibson, respectively.

Just over a fifth (21%) of residents in District F identify as Asian. District F is currently represented by Commissioner Justin Jones. Commissioner Michael Naft’s District A also has a sizable percentage of Asians at 15%.

Nevada is one of the most diverse states in the country. That diversity is led in the state by Clark County where only 39.4% of people identify as white, non-Hispanic.

Based on the 2020 census data, each of the seven districts should ideally have 323,637 residents. Overall the county grew by around 16% but that growth was uneven across the state and county.

District F in the southwest grew the most over the past decade, recording 365,567 people in its 2010-2020 boundary lines. On the opposite end, District D in an older, more established part of the county had a recorded population of 287,626 — 21% smaller than ideal.

The newly approved maps bring each district back within 2% of the ideal population level, according to the county consultant, Heller.

Heller told the commissioners they should be proud of the updated map, which he said also prioritized keeping cities in the same district and keeping as many residents with their current commissioners as possible.

However, in addition to concerns about unintended consequences on minority voter power, some groups expressed disappointment in what they felt was a lack of meaningful engagement by the county.

Prior to the proposed maps being presented before the commission twice, which is required by law, the county held just one dedicated meeting seeking community input. During that early October meeting, Heller presented for the first time the proposed maps but did not have demographic information related to the new boundary lines.

More than one person complained then that information should have been available for review prior to that community meeting.

Former Commissioner Chris Guinchigliani, who was in office last time redistricting took place, said during that meeting that the county held more meetings in 2011.

The maps and data were eventually made available on a county website and input could be submitted via email.

The updated maps officially go into effect in two weeks for zoning purposes, according to the county attorney. Voters will notice the changes next year when election season officially begins.

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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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