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Upshur County Clerk Carol Smith speaks with commissioners at their regular meeting Thursday, Nov. 18, about the timeline for redistricting. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

Commission sets timeline for changes in voting precincts affected by redistricting

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission on Thursday approved a timeline to publish the proposed changes to the magisterial and voting precinct boundaries, which will be effective in the May 2022 Primary Election.

The changes, detailed in a previous story, must occur as a result of the West Virginia State Legislature’s 2021 redistricting process in the wake of the completion of the 2020 U.S. Census. Following the 2020 Census, the Mountain State lost one of its three Congressional districts, and new political boundaries were drawn for state Senate and House of Delegates districts.

County Clerk Carol Smith said commissioners first needed to determine if they planned to cancel any meetings in December.

“We’re looking at the dates now; I did some checking and I need to know if you were planning on canceling any meetings in December,” Smith said. “That becomes a key issue because we have to do the publication within a certain timeframe. Of course, we don’t have a meeting next week, but on Dec. 2, we could have you approve the notes for publication in the newspaper, we could publish it on Dec. 7 and then after the 21st, you could make your final order.”

According to release from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office, the commission must have all changes finalized by Jan. 22, 2022.

“I have to have two publication dates and you have to approve the notice, but it can’t be approved until Dec. 2, and then it has to be posted or published for two consecutive weeks, so the week of the Dec. 20 is really the only option,” Smith said. “I need to get the notices prepared and then that gives Joe Waple with Atlas Geographic plenty of time to put the maps together for you all to look at and decide if that’s what you want your orders to say.”

The commissioners decided to cancel the regularly scheduled Dec. 23 Upshur County Commission meeting, and a special meeting was scheduled for Dec. 22 at 9 a.m. Smith said she also plans to schedule public testing for the voting equipment during the week of Dec. 13-17.

The voting precinct changes will not be in effect for the Jan. 15 Upshur County Schools bond levy election.

Commissioner Terry Cutright made a motion to approve Smith’s timeline, which Nolte seconded, prior to it passing unanimously.

In other business, the commission also:

Approved a request from Upshur County Sheriff Virgil Miller for the employment of Tanner Collins as a new Upshur County Sheriff’s Deputy and Norma Wayts as a court security officer.

Received correspondence from Robert N. Skinner II announcing his resignation from the Corridor H Authority as one of three Upshur County representatives, effective December 31, 2021. This term expires on December 31, 2024.

Approved a request from Shane Whitehair, executive director of Region VII Planning and Development Council, to fill the vacancy on the Corridor H Authority. Mr. Whitehair would fulfill the unexpired term through December 31, 2024.

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