Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 13, 2013

City is waiting on new precinct map

County officials say they are waiting on the state

By Scott Smith
Tribune staff writer

— Kokomo Common Council President Mike Kennedy wants to draw up new council districts as soon as possible, in part so voters in the newly annexed areas can get to know their council members.

State law also requires the city to redistrict because of the annexations, which took effect Jan. 1.

But the city council is at the mercy of county and state officials, who have until June 21 to finalize new precinct boundaries.

Without the new precincts, the city council can’t draw new district maps.

Officials usually avoid running council district lines through the middle of individual precincts.

“For [the county] not to give us the stuff we need to do our jobs ... I don’t feel comfortable with that,” Kennedy said during the council’s pre-meeting caucus Monday.

Council attorney Corbin King mentioned the deadline, which didn’t make Kennedy any happier.

“I just don’t want to get caught at the end without the time to do what we need to do,” Kennedy said.

The next city elections aren’t until 2015, but both parties will be curious to see the percentages of Republican and Democrat votes in the 2014 elections as a kind of prelude.

County attorney Larry Murrell said the Howard County Commissioners must approve the precinct maps but said county officials are awaiting the results of a required review by the Indiana Election Division before moving ahead.

The county has been awaiting the state approval for at least the past two weeks.

As a second-class city, Kokomo is required to be divided into six council districts. Each of the districts must contain, “as nearly as is possible, equal population,” according to state law.

Likewise, state law limits the size of each precinct to no more than 1,200 people.

Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com

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