Las Vegas’s new political district boundaries will go into effect Sunday following City Council approval on Wednesday, meaning that tens of thousands of residents will see their wards and council representatives change.
The city will notify affected constituents by direct mail, according to City Manager Jorge Cervantes. A barcode on the mailer will be scannable and send recipients to the city’s website where they can type in their address to learn their new ward and council member.
The council’s unanimous signoff of the new map officially concludes the city’s redistricting process, an effort undertaken every decade by all governments in accordance with the U.S. Census. Due to delays in receiving census population figures because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city was forced to redraw its districts in four months. Typically officials have nearly a year.
“It was a big challenge, and I think we’ve met the challenge,” City Attorney Bryan Scott said, noting that the city had not received any negative comments about new boundaries.
The city maintains six political wards for nearly 642,000 total residents. Federal rules require such districts to be as similar in population as possible. But as a result of uneven growth over the past 10 years, many more residents lived in the far northwest Ward 6 than in other districts.
Ward 3, the city’s smallest district until now, covering parts of downtown and east Las Vegas, was only about three-quarters the size of Ward 6, where about 130,000 people lived. The city’s charter allows districts to deviate only by as much as 5 percent.
Under the new map, Ward 3 grew from 98,000 to 109,000 people. Ward 6 lost some 25,000 people as its neighbor to the south, Ward 4, expanded to the north.
While there were significant adjustments to even out populations, the effect on diversity was nominal, city data shows. Ward 3 will remain the lone minority-majority district in the city, with a 57 percent voting-age Hispanic population, according to the data.