Douglas County has a tentative plan for realigning county board districts to account for population changes following the 2020 U.S. Census.

With a 21% deviation range from the least to most populous district, it was necessary to make some changes to bring the districts into an acceptable deviation range, said County Clerk Susan Sandvick.

Douglas County's Redistricting Committee reached consensus that the plan is workable Wednesday, Aug. 25.

Changes made to the current district maps outside of the city of Superior include:

  • Moving a portion of District 14 on the southern border into District 18 within the town of Superior, creating three voting wards in Douglas County’s largest town.
  • Moving a small section of land in Parkland, annexed by the city, from District 13 in the city to District 15 because Parkland is the community of interest there.
  • District 16 now includes the entire town of Brule, eliminating one of two voting wards.
  • Districts 19 and 20 now include all of Solon Springs, eliminating a third voting ward that was necessary because a portion of the town was in District 21.
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“It was always messy,” Sandvick said. “The population, it’s not a large municipality so it made sense to try to clean that up to two wards, so that’s what we did.”

From an administrative and voting standpoint, Sandvick said the new maps for the towns and villages clean things up nicely.

“In the city, we were dealing with every district being under populated,” Sandvick said. “So it was kind of a struggle, but we did bring up the deficit.”

Since the 2010 U.S. Census, Superior’s population shrunk by 493 people, while Douglas County’s overall population grew by 136.

Changes primarily involved shifting blocks from one district to another until the deviation was acceptable.

Noting a small triangle on the border of District 9 that includes four people, Jon Fiskness, a member of the Redistricting Committee, asked if that was really necessary.

District 9 in Superior has the largest negative deviation, at -3.89% in the city.

“It’s amazing what two people changes, or four people,” Sandvick said.

Overall, the deviation range is 9.96%, almost the same deviation the county had 10 years ago, when the range was 9.94%, Sandvick said.

Deviations below 10% are generally presumed to be constitutional, according to the Wisconsin Counties Association.

The county’s tentative plan will now be forwarded to municipalities to draw voting wards and will be available to the public on Friday, Aug. 27, Sandvick said.

A public hearing on the tentative maps is planned for Sept. 14.

This story was updated at 12:17 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26,with the correct date for the public hearing . It was originally posted at 8 a.m. Thursday.