Under Redistricting, Could Ward 2 Boundaries Expand?
By November 1, 2021 0 780•
Could the Glover Park neighborhoods become part of Ward 2 instead of Ward 3? That might happen in the next months as the redistricting process — which takes place every 10 years after the census is recorded to address changing demographics — gets underway in the District.
Since Washington, D.C., is not a state and does not have congressional districts to represent its population in Congress, the redistricting here affects only the configuration of the District’s eight wards. That consequently could affect the boundaries of the 40 advisory neighborhood commissions (ANCs) and their 400-some commissioners who are elected every two years to represent single-member districts within each ANC.
“Based on the latest population count, each of the eight wards in D.C. should have an average population of 86,193 people, although there is wiggle room of plus or minus 5 percent,” according to city redistricting officials. The 2020 census shows that Ward 2 where Georgetown is located has a population of 81,904 – an increase of 6.4 percent from the 2010 population of 76,645 but below the target average. In fact, half of the eight wards are below the 86,000 population marker: Wards 2, 4, 7 and 8.
The other four wards are above 895,000 population, with Ward 6 being the largest at 108,202 residents, a whopping 42-percent growth rate in 10 years. It seems likely that Ward 6 in particular might be reconfigured to reduce its population and to raise the populations of Wards 7 and 8. Ward 2 could possibly be reshaped to increase its population, perhaps from a reconfiguration from Ward 1 or 3.
“We know that the lines of each Ward will likely change and that Ward 2 will likely grow,” Ward 2 Council member Brooke Pinto told The Georgetowner Nov. 1. “We are currently within range – but just barely. I love all the neighborhoods in Ward 2 and hope that we can keep them together, and I also will welcome any new neighborhoods that may be added. Keeping communities together and not arbitrarily drawing lines through neighborhoods is an important consideration. We know this has happened in past redistricting, and I’m hopeful and confident that we can avoid this.”
Pinto added: “This is one of the reasons why I am troubled to see parts of North Dupont Circle removed from Ward 2 in some of the ‘Maps for Discussion’ released today. The North Dupont Circle community has extensive ties and shared interests with the greater Dupont Circle community. Excising this part of Ward 2 would arbitrarily cut off the LGBTQIIA+ community that has such a rich history and pronounced presence in North Dupont. I will be working with my colleagues to ensure that this community remains in Ward 2.”
In September, the Sub-Committee on Redistricting began to hold the first of many planned hearings on suggested changes that will be handed over to the D.C. Council and the Office of Planning as early as December.
According to Council member Elissa Silverman (At-Large), the conversations seem poised to be a frank and lively: “I think we need to be honest about the role race will play in this process.”
The D.C. Council’s Subcommittee on Redistricting has released three “discussion” maps to foster a productive dialogue on the choices facing the Subcommittee. All three of the maps were submitted by the public through DCredistricting.esriemcs.com. Read more about the three maps here, or directly access them here: Map 1, Map 2, Map 3. Two more hearings are scheduled: Ward 6 on Wednesday, Nov. 3, and a city-wide hearing on Friday, Nov. 5 at noon.
The Georgetown-Burleith ANC (2E) will likely weigh in about any proposed changes to Ward 2 boundaries, that could also affect its makeup. City officials say the deadline to reconfigure boundaries of the ANCs and their single-member districts should be completed by summer of 2022.