The new electoral districts proposal has an average of 1,330 potential voters per district, with the exception of the two Sister Island districts, each with about 600 voters, North Side with 800, and East End with 610 voters.
The remaining 15 districts are divided among West Bay, George Town and Bodden Town.
The public had their final opportunity this week to make comments to Electoral Boundaries Commission members, who expect to deliver a report in August proposing 19 electoral districts for the Cayman Islands.
The three-member commission has been meeting for months and delivered its long-awaited redistricting maps on July 1. The new maps preserve the existing North Side and East End districts, despite their low populations, and add a district to George Town.
“It’s more problematic to have districts with too many people than too few,” said commission chair Lisa Handley, an election districting expert from the United States who has worked on similar efforts around the world. She spoke Tuesday night in George Town to a crowd of 25, one of the final public comment sessions for the commission.
Ms. Handley said the United States is unique in making population the primary concern in redistricting. “Most countries recognize sparsely populated areas as having special status.”
She told the group that the primary considerations for the new districts were natural boundaries and existing districts. Population totals came in third in the commission’s considerations, based on the group’s mandate in the Constitution, she said.
The biggest population centers the commission had to deal with were in the Savannah-Newlands, Red Bay-Prospect and central George Town areas. The draft maps make significant changes to break up those areas and add a district in George Town to give each district roughly 1,330 potential voters.
Ms. Handley said the commission figured out the numbers of potential voters, versus actual registered voters, based on the 2010 Census. They counted anyone who is 15 or older and would be eligible to vote in 2017.