Local redistricting taking shape in Tama Co.

The map pictured is the proposed Tama County precinct map that will be up for a public hearing on Dec. 20 before the Tama County Board of Supervisors. Changes to the map include the merger of Grant Township precinct into Perry/Buckingham/East Crystal precinct and the merger of the Otter Creek Township precinct into the Tama/Columbia precinct. Image courtesy of the Tama County Auditor’s Office

With the newest redistricting plan for state and Congressional boundaries approved and ready to take effect in 2023, focus has now moved to the county level.

During their Dec. 6 regular meeting the Tama County Board of Supervisors set the date for a public hearing to discuss a newly proposed precinct map put forth by the Tama County Redistricting Committee.

The hearing will take place on Monday, Dec. 20 at 9:45 a.m. at the County Administration Building in Toledo.

The Redistricting Committee is composed of three members of the public from each of the supervisor districts and are selected by their respective supervisor.

Committee members for the 2021 process are Joe Boll of Toledo, Stan Graff of Tama and Mike Wentzein of Gladbrook.

Two changes to the county precinct system are reflected in the proposed plan.

The Grant Township precinct which for many years held voting at the Amity Church is proposed to be absorbed into the Perry, Buckingham and Crystal Township precinct.

During elections over the last year, voters in Grant Township have traveled to Traer to vote on Election Day due to the pandemic. The proposed plan would keep that process the same but would formally merge Grant Township in with the other townships to the east.

The second change relates to another precinct consolidation in the southern half of the county.

In the most recent precinct map, Otter Creek Township east of Tama-Toledo was divided into two separate voting precincts.

The north half has been voting with Carroll and Oneida townships in Clutier while the southern half has been voting in Tama.

The proposed plan would conjoin Otter Creek Township back into a whole township and merge it into the Tama and Columbia township precinct that votes in Tama.

Under the new plan the total number of voting precincts in Tama County would be reduced from 14 down to 12.

Another change coming to local redistricting this cycle is the removal of the county committee from the county supervisor redistricting process.

In years past the Tama County Redistricting Committee would put forward proposals for both precinct district boundaries and county supervisor district boundaries.

Now the Iowa Legislative Services Agency (LSA) is in control of the county supervisor redistricting process as they were for the state legislature and the Congressional districts earlier this year.

Tama County has until Jan. 15, 2021 to complete the county precinct redistricting process. Once that is complete, the approved plan is taken under advisement by the LSA to formulate the supervisor redistricting plan proposal.