The Jefferson County Commission appears ready to revise its municipal borders rather than appeal a federal court ruling. For the first time, a judge has ruled against a municipality including prisoners in its local districts.
At an emergency meeting Monday evening, the five member county commission voted to begin drafting new borders. A federal court found fault with including inmates in the population of a local district when those prisoners don’t have a voice in local politics. The judge gave the county just over two weeks to complete a new district map. Commissioner Betsy Barfield is confident the county can comply with the order, but she worries about finding common ground with the school board.
“I feel the county commission of Jefferson County will be able to draw their lines—draw our lines by April fourth,” Barfield says. “I’m not so sure we’re going to be on the same page with the school board and that will be contentious—that meeting.”
In recent years redistricting has been a source of friction, but historically Jefferson County’s school board districts have mirrored those of county commissioners.