MARSHALL - Lyon County could be facing a clean slate on its county board next year, after commissioners approved new voting districts following a public hearing Tuesday night. The new districts have a more even population distribution, but will put all five commissioners' seats up for election this November.
No members of the public attended the hearing, but county commissioners heard presentations on possible voting district boundaries from Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg and County Auditor/Treasurer Paula VanOverbeke. Stomberg said the goal was to have districts that were compact, contiguous and as close to each other in population as was practical.
Out of three possible redistricting options, county commissioners voted in favor of one that more or less divides Lyon County into northern and southern halves, while three of five county commissioner seats will each represent one voting ward in the city of Marshall and one neighboring township. The arrangement would bring commissioner district populations closer together, and the borders of commissioner districts would more closely match the boundaries of state legislative districts, Stomberg said.
Commissioners also said they thought the arrangement would make more sense for voter representation.
"People in the county tend to move east to west," said Commissioner Rick Anderson - for example, the residents of Minneota are likely to have more in common with residents of Cottonwood than with the residents of Balaton. Anderson said the north-south division would also ensure that the southern end of the county always had representation. A different proposal that divided the county into east and west halves could theoretically have five commissioners from the north half of the county.
Commissioners also approved a change in title for commissioner districts, to better correspond with Marshall city voting wards. District 1 would include Marshall Ward 1 and Fairview Township, District 2 would include Marshall Ward 2 and Lake Marshall Township, and District 3 would include Marshall Ward 3 and Lynd Township. District 4 would include Eidsvold, Westerheim, Vallers, Lucas, Nordland, Grandview, Stanley, Island Lake and Clifton townships. District 5 would include Coon Creek, Lyons, Sodus, Amiret, Shelburne, Rock Lake, Custer and Monroe townships.
All five commissioner seats would be up for election this fall, VanOverbeke said. Filings open May 22, and if needed, a primary would be held in August.