Barton: Redistricting won’t solve McGraw residency issue

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Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Kim Barton issued a statement batting down the idea that redistricting has anything to do with the residency controversy involving School Board of Alachua County (SBAC) member Diyonne McGraw.

At a Tuesday public hearing SBAC Chair Leanetta McNealy floated the idea that the lack of redistricting since 2001 might mean all board members should resign. But in a statement released late Wednesday Barton signaled that is not the case. 

“While the Supervisor of Elections is responsible for creating voting precinct boundaries, the Alachua County School Board is responsible for the creation of its district boundaries,” Barton’s statement said. “When then-Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter changed voting precinct boundaries following the 2010 Census, consolidating from 71 precincts to the current 63 precincts, the Alachua County School Board maintained its 2001 district boundaries.”

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That change by Carpenter did not affect the SBAC’s districts. As it stands, the SBAC has maintained its 2001 district boundaries for 20 years—districts based on precinct maps created before 1998, when there were 53 precincts, according to Barton’s statement.

Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Kim Barton

McGraw was elected last year to represent District 2, even though she lives in District 4. That has led to public calls for her resignation and fellow board members to suggest a pause in school board business while an investigations is conducted. 

At the SBAC’s Tuesday morning meeting board member Robert Hyatt suggested the SBAC match its district maps with the rest of the county in the future.

“We need fewer maps of the county,” he said. “We should have the same number of [precincts] as the county commission.”

Diyonne McGraw

The purpose of redistricting is to maintain equally populated districts. According to SBAC Resolution No. 01-12—adopted August 21, 2001, and obtained by Mainstreet Daily News in a public records request—Florida law requires redistricting changes to occur in odd-numbered years, “and provided that no change which would affect the residence qualifications of any incumbent member shall disqualify such member during the term for which he is elected.”

The SBAC’s 2001 Alachua County precinct maps established Board Member Residence Areas as follows:

Seat 1: 1, 2, 3, 6, 11, 14, 20, 34, 43, 47, 49, 50, 53

Seat 2: 4, 5, 7, 17, 21, 22, 24, 31, 37, 40

Seat 3: 26, 32, 36, 38, 39, 41, 45, 46, 51, 52

Seat 4: 8, 12, 13, 15, 16, 19, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 33

Seat 5: 9, 10, 18, 23, 35, 42, 44, 48

Any changes or updates that the SBAC may carry out in 2021 will not influence anyone currently in office, only those running in 2022 and beyond.

Barton closed her Wednesday statement reiterating that the McGraw residency issue remains unresolved: “As communicated in a previous statement, the address on the candidate’s Candidate Oath from the 2020 election cycle is located within District 4 of the Alachua County School Board.”

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