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Changes to magisterial districts out for public input as county redistricting begins

MORGANTOWN — A map representing changes to Monongalia County’s three magisterial districts has been made public as the county clerk’s office begins the redistricting process.

County Clerk Carye Blaney told members of the Monognalia County Commission that the goal was to equally divide the county’s 105,822 residents into the eastern, western and central districts.

She said her office was able to get the districts within 1.5% of one another with two changes.

One will affect an area above Star City (Precinct 76), moving it from the western district to the central.

The other will move residents living between W.Va. 7 and the Summers School/McKinney Cave Road area (Precinct 38) from the eastern district to the western district.

A map of the changes are posted at the Monongalia County Courthouse as well as in the Cheat Lake, Clinton District and Morgantown public libraries.

It will come before the commission for approval on Dec. 1.

Magisterial districts impact county commission and board of education races, but more changes are coming as the county is moving from three house of delegate districts to six and from three senatorial districts to two.

“We will be working on precinct changes now that we have our house of delegate districts and senatorial districts,” Blaney said. “We started working on that yesterday, actually, and 20 of our 41 precincts have been cut into multiple areas. We will have a lot of work ahead of us as we move forward … but this is the first step in the redistricting process.”

While the commission was complimentary of the work being done by the county clerk’s office, Commissioner Tom Bloom reiterated his frustration with the legislature’s decision to not make Monongalia County a single senatorial district, noting the county met the population threshold for such a change.

“The state constitution made it very clear to follow county boundaries. This was purposefully not done in Monongalia County, for whatever reason,” he said, explaining that he is one of the county residents who will now vote in the 2nd Senatorial District, along with a portion of Marion County and all of Tyler, Wetzel and Doddridge counties.

“It’s very frustrating and I feel that this was done inappropriately,” he said. “It actually, in a way, appears to make residents where we live in Ashton Estates almost inconsequential when trying to pick a state senator with all those counties involved. I just believe the citizens of Monongalia County deserve an answer, and that’s what I’m asking.”

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