I thought this was some useful information yet I doubt I could explain it better then Will McVay. Therefore, I have shared his information (with his permission). You may read more of Will’s take on things here.
What is Levy Court?
The Kent County Levy Court is our county council, which has retained its name from its original formation for the purpose of levying taxes on local properties to fund the county government.
What is Redistricting?
Following the 2010 US Census, Delaware State Law requires the Levy Court to adjust the district boundaries to ensure a more or less equal population in each of the six Levy Court districts within a certain range, similar to the process for state and federal legislators.
How Does Levy Court Redistricting Work?
After the president declares the 2010 census final, the Levy Court has 60 days to appoint a redistricting commission. They then have 90 days to deliver a formal recommendation, which the Levy Court commissioners can then modify and pass an ordinance within 60 days to implement, or the recommendations will automatically be implemented if no action is taken. Further refinements can be made once the state level redistricting is complete to align election district boundaries, provided that each step in the process does not result in the districts’ populations being skewed beyond the statutory parameters.
What are the Statutory Parameters?
Chapter 41, Title 9 of the Delaware Code specifies in §4106(b)2 that “Each District shall contain as nearly as possible the same number of inhabitants and no District shall deviate in population more than 15% from the average population for the 6 Districts…”
Who’s on this Commission?
§4106(a) of Chapter 41, Title 9, specifies that the Levy Court shall “…appoint 7 electors of the County who shall comprise a Redistricting Commission. The members of the Redistricting Commission shall be appointed by the Levy Court, 1 from each of the Levy Court Districts of the County, and shall not be employed by the County in any other capacity. No more than 4 of the members shall be affiliated with the same political party.”
So what do you want?
The statutory requirements for the composition of the Redistricting Commission allow the commission to be divided quite handily into a 4-3 D-R ratio. The majority on the Levy Court held by the Democratic Party makes this breakdown rather than the reverse scenario infinitely more likely. While this is legal, the Kent County Libertarian Party believes that the approximate ¼ of Kent County registered voters not affiliated with either of these parties should also be represented on the Redistricting Commission.
Why does this matter?
Redistricting is a very important process because it determines where the boundaries are drawn for our political representatives’ constituencies. This process is frequently abused through “gerrymandering”, where lines are drawn in such a way as to divide and concentrate voters to benefit incumbents and exacerbate partisan divides. A voice on the Redistricting Commission unaffiliated with either of the political parties currently in power can ensure a transparent and honest process that benefits the people of Delaware rather than any entrenched political interests.
Why Tell Me?
The Levy Court is hardly the most notorious government in the country. While it may be difficult for any citizen not closely associated with one of the two incumbent parties to win elections, it is far easier for a few committed citizens to help sway the decisions of a few Levy Court commissioners than a district full of voters. Watch the Kent County Libertarian Party Facebook page for updates, and be ready to come out to a meeting of the Kent County Levy Court on Tuesdays at 7pm to voice your support for An Independent Voice on the Kent County Levy Court Redistricting Commission.
The Kent County Levy Court building is the big building near the Blue Hen Mall and Jake’s Hamburgers on US113 in South Dover.