A letter from the department dated Aug. 9 confirmed that the U.S. attorney general had no objections to the changes, therefore they took effect immediately.
“When the Justice Department gives their opinion, they don’t approve,” City Manager Don Hoyt said. “They say, ‘We have no objection at this time.’”
The city began the redistricting process more than a year ago after the 2010 census was released. The results in Anniston showed a major shift in population making Wards 1 and 4 much larger than Wards 2 and 3.
Dividing Anniston’s 2010 census population of 23,106 into four wards created an ideal ward population of 5,777. Before the changes, Ward 1 had 6,650 residents; Ward 2 had 5,149; Ward 3 had 5,033 and Ward 4 had 6,274. The wide variance of populations meant that the councilmen from Wards 1 and 4 were representing more residents, skewing the one-person, one-vote democratic ideal.
The new ward lines bring the populations of each ward much closer together, with 5,697 residents in the redrawn Ward 1; 5,820 in Ward 2; 6,000 in Ward 3 and 5,589 in Ward 4. Of course, shifted boundaries mean some residents are finding themselves living in new wards. Hoyt said about 500 residents from the fringes of Wards 1 and 4 have changed wards and probably half those residents are registered voters, he said. Those voters will be voting in different polling places and for different council and board of education seats.
In addition, voters who used to vote in the Mental Health Center will now vote at the Anniston Country Club.
The city will mail postcards to every registered voter in the city to let them know where their polling place will be, Hoyt said. He said the postcards would be going out by the end of the week.
Residents can also go to City Hall to see a map displaying the ward-line changes.
Star staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545.