Prior to 2011, Sullivan County had one of the highest population deviations in the state, 60%. They did redistrict, but still have a deviation of 28%. To make matters worse, 10% of the population is prisoners, over a third of District 3.
County Redistricting Overview
State law and state and federal court decisions require that local government districts be compact, contiguous, not cross precint boundaries, and be as nearly equal in population as possible (usually with population deviation of less than 10%). To be in compliance, answers to each of the questions below should be "Yes".
Note: Other requirements regarding vote dilution and minority representation are not examined in this report.
|Were the districts based on the 2000 census in compliance with state law?||No. We estimate that the populatin deviation was 60%, six times the allowable limit.|
|Did the county redistrict after the 2010 census?||Yes|
|Is the population deviation of the current districts less than 10%?||No. It is 28%, nearly three times the allowable limit.|
|Are the current districts compact and contiguous?||Yes|
|Is every precinct wholly contained within a single district?||Yes|
Sullivan is home to one of the state's largest prisons, which housed 2,118 prisoners in 2010 according to the US census--10% of the county's entire population. The county appears to have taken the prison into account when redrawing its county council districts as they placed it in the largest district, District 3. However, prisoners make up 36% of the population of District 3 and without them District 3 is by far the smallest district. Prisoners can't vote or participate in county governance. Thus the free residents of District 3 have substantially more say over county governance than the free residents of the other three districts have. Excluding prisoners, District 3 is by far the smallest, giving the free residents of that district far more say over county governance than the free residents of the county's other three districts.
2010 Census Data
In 2012, we were able to determine exact populations for each county council district by identifying which precincts (as drawn in 2011 by each county) were in which county council district. We were able to calculate precinct populations using the 2010 census as long as precincts contained whole census blocks, which they are supposed to do.
|District 1||5440|||||District 2||5721|||||District 3||5919|||||District 4||4395|
|Average District Population||5369|
Population deviation is calculated by subtracting the smallest district from the largest district and dividing by the average district population. The maximum allowable deviation for local governments is 10%.