Final Hyattsville Redistricting Vote Slated
Hyattsville City Council to consider charter amendment formally laying out new ward boundaries.
The plan has long been approved, but the Hyattsville City Council still has one more hurdle to go before the city's new redistricting plan become official.
That vote will likely take place at tonight's city council meeting, when city officials take up a proposed amendment to the Hyattsville City Charter which lays out the specific boundaries of the new wards. Charter amendments must be voted on and approved twice before they become official.
About a month ago the city council, after long redistricting process, approved a set of new ward boundaries. Localities are required by state law to redraw their political boundaries every 10 years following the federal census. The overriding goal is to equalize the populations between wards to satisfy the requirements of the federal Voting Rights Act.
The new boundaries will not unseat any incumbent city council members, avoiding the need for special elections to sort out ward representation after the new districts become official. It also creates a Hispanic minority-opportunity ward in Ward 4, which would have a 50 percent Hispanic population.
City officials had expressed interest in creating a minority-majority ward where Hispanics held a dominant share of at least one ward's population. However, Hyattsville's neighborhood diversity made that difficult.
"The city is so diverse, that it is hard to get more than 50 percent of one racial group in one ward," said David Rain, chairman of Hyattsville's redistricting committee, at a lightly attended January public hearing to gather input from residents about redistricting.
Between the 2000 and 2010 censuses, Hyattsville added about 3,500 residents to its population, growing from roughly 14,000 residents to roughly 17,500 residents.
In that time, Hyattsville's Hispanic population increased from 2,670 residents to 5,970, most of it in West Hyattsville in Ward 4 and Ward 3.