MOORHEAD — Most if not all of the seats on the Clay County Commission could be up for election in 2022 based on commission district redistricting that will take place using 2020 census numbers.
That's according to officials who updated county commissioners on Tuesday, Oct. 12, regarding plans the county has for addressing how district lines could be redrawn in the wake of the decennial census.
Census numbers are starting to be released and based on that count Clay County's population grew from 58,999 in the 2010 census to 65,318 in the 2020 census, according to Mark Sloan, the county's information services director.
Sloan said state law requires that the populations of commissioner districts be within 10% of the average district population, which is about 13,000.
Based on the latest census numbers, he said county officials have determined the population in any given district must now be from 11,758 to 14,370.
The populations of the five county commissioner districts now stand at:
- 12,462 in District 1 (central Moorhead)
- 12,457 in District 2 (northern half of Clay County, including Dilworth, Glyndon, Felton and Hawley)
- 16,207 in District 3 (southern half of Clay County, including part of south Moorhead, Barnesville and Sabin)
- 11,422 in District 4 (north Moorhead and Kragnes and Oakport townships)
- 12,770 in District 5 (part of south Moorhead, along the Red River)
Clay County Auditor Lori Johnson said the county has until April 26, 2022, to figure out how redistricting will go.
She said the county will come up with a plan well before that in cooperation with the city of Moorhead, which is now in the process of determining how precinct boundaries may be redrawn.
When it comes to commissioner district seats, the rules say any district seat that sees greater than 5% turnover in actual voters, moving into or out of the district, must be up for election in the first general election following redistricting.
That turnover threshold currently stands at 653 voters, officials said Tuesday.
Johnson said it is clear some redrawing of commissioner district boundaries will happen and as part of that it is likely many if not all current county commission seats will have to be up for election in 2022.
She said one exception could be the District 2 seat held by Frank Gross.
The District 1 seat is currently held by Jenna Kahly; the District 3 seat is held by Jenny Mongeau; the District 4 seat is held by Kevin Campbell; and the District 5 seat is held by David Ebinger.
Johnson said the challenge will be getting the population of District 3 in line with the other districts and to do that will require reconfiguring many if not all of the other districts.
In Cass County, commissioners are elected at large, though a candidate must live in the district they are elected to represent. Historically, redistricting has not been an issue for anyone serving on the Cass County Commission.
The redistricting process in Cass County is handled by a five-member board that includes the chairman of the Cass County Commission, the Cass County state's attorney, a representative of the city of Fargo, a representative of other municipalities in the county, and a representative from the county's townships.
The Cass County Redistricting Board is scheduled to hold a meeting at 11 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 18.