The Chestertown Town Council accepted the recommendations of the Redistricting Committee and empowered the city manager to create an ordinance redrawing the ward map of the Town.
The recommended change was in response to a January 20, 2020 letter of concern from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) noting that “the existing four-ward election system in Chestertown is severely malapportioned, and also unfairly dilutes Black voting strength.”
The letter also calls attention to the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment requiring “election districts to be as equal in population.”
To that end, a Redistricting Committee consisting of two residents from each ward was formed in February 2020.
The Redistricting Rules called for no more than 10% deviation between ward populations. They must contain at least one minority-majority Ward with a plurality of a Black voting age population (at least 40%) to give black voters a greater political voice. Also, by Redistricting Committee agreement, a revised ward map must not displace any current Councilperson.
Because of the six-month delay in releasing the 2020 census data, the current rebalancing of ward populations is based on the 2010 census and will be reviewed once the 2020 data becomes available. At that point, adjustments could be made.
A mass mailing addressing the ward changes sent out after the new ordinance is in effect.
The map below reflects the changes in the four Chestertown voting districts. Answering Ward 1 Councilmember David Foster’s request to list the new boundaries by streets, he was provided with this outline by the Town.
Maple Ave./Washington Ave. is the boundary between Wards 1 and 2. The dividing line stops at Campus Ave., then goes west on Campus to Prospect Ave., north to the Gilchrest Rail Trail, then south to Calvert Street, then in a straight line down College Avenue. There are no residents in the Dixon Business Park, so the line from College Ave. was drawn straight to the municipal boundary bordering the headwaters of Radcliffe Creek.
Campus Ave. is the boundary between most of Ward 1 and 4, then Rolling Road before it dips back in on School, then Cedar, then Valley (these three roads are not identified because of the font size that was used for the map), and then east on Greenwood to Schauber.
Ward 3 is separated from Ward 2 at College and Calvert. It then goes one block south to High Street, which is the dividing street between Wards 3 and 4, then east on Morgnec Road, then north along the Gilchrest Rail Trail to the northern municipal boundary.