Residents express concern over redistricting

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Residents gathered in Warren Saturday morning to learn about a new redistricting plan for the city.

Every ten years the city has to redefine their boundaries, but the new plan is causing concern for some residents, particularly in the northeast section of Warren.

“We’re trying to gather information from residents to see which way they would like their ward to be redistricted,” said Councilman John Brown, D-3rd Ward.

This is just one of several meetings aimed at educating the public about the plan, especially since council members say that a 20-percent population drop has made the current wards uneven. The goal is to make each of the seven wards have roughly 6,000 people.

The proposed plan doesn’t come without opposition. Most of the residents at Saturday’s meeting agree their biggest concerns are changes with polling locations and losing the council person they supported with their vote.

“If we are moved into a different ward, the person that is there is not the person maybe we would have voted for,” said resident Elizabeth Balint.

Brown said that changes are coming because the law requires the redistricting, but he said it is good that so many residents are interested in what is happening in their neighborhoods.

“People resist change and really this is great though, you had spirited conversation about this,” said Brown. “People question why this is happening, but I think the bottom line is legislators have to follow the law.”

The wards cannot be changed 90 days prior to an election, so nothing will be done before the May primary. Council members hope to have the plan finalized this summer, ahead of the general election in November.

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