Officials review draft election ward maps

Nov. 26—HIGH POINT — Draft City Council election maps keep every incumbent in existing wards unpaired with any of their colleagues.

Redistricting consultant Bill Gilkeson this week showed the council three options for adjusting the districts based on 2020 Census data.

The boundaries would change little under the first two draft maps, dubbed Option A and Option B, which he said were "drawn to preserve the cores of existing wards."

A third "blank slate" option would change every ward but — at council's request — still keep incumbents in separate wards.

The council last month told consultants to keep the existing system in place for High Point municipal elections of six ward and two at-large representatives, along with a mayor, that's been used since the 1980s.

They also want to avoid "double-bunking" incumbents in the same ward, and gave the consultants their current addresses so they could draw the draft maps accordingly.

The council plans to adopt a final election map next spring in advance of candidate filing for November 2023 elections.

Gilkeson said Ward 5 Councilman Victor Jones reported that residents of the Alderbrook subdivision, where Ward 6 Councilman Michael Holmes lives, told him the neighborhood was split between the two wards along Alderbrook Road.

"They would like to be unsplit," Gilkeson said.

Option A puts all of Alderbrook in Ward 6.

Option B puts most of Alderbrook in Ward 5, but keeps Holmes in Ward 6, Gilkeson said.

"Option B makes the fewest changes to the current map," he said.

Gilkeson showed the council two variations of the "blank slate" map for Option C, which were drawn without regard to the makeup of current wards, other than avoiding double-bunking.

"I'll just say I don't like either C option. I think they're so far from what we have now," said Ward 4 Councilman Wesley Hudson. "I think it would throw the system off quite a bit to go to option C1 or C2. And, just for my personal sake, (options) A and B are the same — basically Ward 4 stays the same. So whichever one we use doesn't really affect me much. But I think C1 and C2 would affect me dramatically."

The draft maps and other information about redistricting are on the city's website at https://www.highpointnc.gov/redistrict.