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Fremont, Dodge County preparing for redistricting with census results

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Christensen Field voting

Poll workers assist a voter on election night at Christensen Field in Fremont.

With detailed population counts now released from the 2020 United States census, the city of Fremont and Dodge County are preparing for redistricting.

By constitutional law, the United States is required to redistrict based on population every 10 years with the release of that year’s census. Districts must be substantially equal in size.

According to a city release, Fremont Mayor Joey Spellerberg and Dodge County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bob Missel have appointed representatives from the Fremont City Council and county board to review and propose redistricted wards and districts.

On July 13, the city council unanimously approved Spellerberg’s recommendation to appoint Councilmembers Sally Ganem, Michael Kuhns and Dev Sookram to the City-County Joint Redistricting Committee.

Although Kuhns stepped down in August, City Administrator Brian Newton said he believed whoever filled his role would also take his position on the committee.

From 2010 to 2020, Fremont’s population grew from 26,397 to 27,141. Dodge County also saw an increase, growing from 36,691 to 37,167.

With Fremont’s four wards, from 2010 to 2020,

  • Ward 1 grew from 6,885 to 7,000;
  • Ward 2 shrunk from 6,376 to 6,179;
  • Ward 3 grew from 6,757 to 6,916; and
  • Ward 4 grew from 6,379 to 6,732.

“It looks to me like 1 is too large, which means you’re going to have to move the line likely between 2 and 1,” Newton said. “So 1 has got to get smaller, 2 has got to get bigger.”

In comparison, with Dodge County’s seven districts, from 2010 to 2020,

  • District 1 grew from 5,189 to 5,699;
  • District 2 grew from 5,421 to 5,569;
  • District 3 grew from 5,193 to 5,212;
  • District 4 grew from 5,101 to 5,125;
  • District 5 grew from 5,161 to 5,424;
  • District 6 shrunk from 5,412 to 5,132; and
  • District 7 shrunk from 5,214 to 5,003.

Newton said he met with County Clerk Fred Mytty to discuss the results and their districts and wards.

“That’s why we get together, as they match,” he said. “So when you see on our ward map, when you see 1A, that’s his precinct 1A, and when you see 1D, that matches his precinct 1D.”

Newton also said the county may need to evaluate other areas such as precincts 3A, 3D and 3A.

“You’ll see the boundaries on some of the precincts, there’s kind of some weird jogs and stuff,” he said. “And so Fred said, ‘You know, maybe we should take a look at some of those jobs and see if we can’t make those a little straighter too.’”

On May 26, Gov. Pete Ricketts signed Legislative Bill 285, introduced by Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon, which created a legal framework and timeline for redistricting.

According to the timeline, counties will draw precinct boundaries in October. The deadline for county election officials to provide precinct maps is Nov. 1, while the deadline for municipals and political subdivisions to provide boundary lines to the officials is Dec. 30.

The final deadline for boundary adjustments to be made for the 2022 primary election is Jan. 5, 2022.

Redistricting season officially kicks off with the release of detailed population data from the U.S. Census Bureau that will be used to redraw voting districts nationwide potentially helping determine control of the U.S. House in the 2022 elections and providing an electoral edge for the next decade.

More than a half year after the election, Republican lawmakers are passing new restrictions requiring identification to vote by mail. Voters in Florida and Georgia who want to vote absentee ballots in next year's governors races now must first provide identification to receive a ballot. Only two states had such a law in the books in 2020. New legislation requiring additional identification for mailed ballots has been introduced in 10 states. Critics say the measures may disproportionately bar votes from low-income, minority and college-age voters who are more likely to lack valid identification or an ID with a current address.Republicans pushed for the new restrictions, fanning concerns over election integrity by embracing former President Trump's false claims of voter fraud in last year's election. Those claims have been rejected by more than 50 state and federal courts - including the U.S. Supreme Court.And though all 50 states also certified election results, Republicans have also called for election audits in multiple hotly contested states, alleging fraud. On Friday, a state judge in Georgia ruled that 142,000 mail ballots could be unsealed for inspection in Fulton County, which includes much of Atlanta. Another heated ballot review continues in Arizona, where some Republican officials in Maricopa County say a private GOP audit is causing a split in the party. "There's this bloodthirstiness that's going on in our party right now that I don't understand, but we have to stop it," Bill Gates, Vice Chair of Maricopa Board of Supervisors said. "This is tearing at the foundations of democracy to act in this way to treat one another this way."President Joe Biden won narrow victories in both Georgia and Arizona - with official ballot recounts upholding his wins.One independent voter in Arizona said Republicans insistence on an audit - long after the fact - could stir a backlash against them.  "Well, I think, it's going help the Democrats. We think it's crazy. I mean, now how can people still be questioning this election. you can't fix stupid, I guess."

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