Feb 9, 2022 - Politics

Suspense mounts as Polk County awaits redistricting map approval

A photo of Polk County Supervisors.
New districts for Polk County's supervisors are still unknown. Photos courtesy of Polk County

A redistricting saga continues for Polk County weeks beyond what Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald and some political organizers anticipated.

Why it matters: The delay is adding complications to local races.

  • Candidates must file nomination papers next month and they still don't know their district's boundaries or who they might be challenging.

The big picture: This redistricting cycle is the first since lawmakers changed Iowa law three years ago and removed much of the power of county-appointed commissions to draw maps for supervisor seats.

  • The process for many counties is now handled through the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency and the Iowa Secretary of State (SOS).

Between the lines: The process unfolds as tension bubbles among some of the supervisors, thanks to an ongoing lawsuit accusing four of them of extortion.

  • Supervisor Matt McCoy joined the lawsuit in October and was stripped of most of his appointments last month.
  • Scorching primary and general election challenges against him are in the works, McCoy predicted in an interview with Axios last month.

What they're saying: Fitzgerald said during a meeting last month that Polk's redistricting maps were expected to be approved around Jan. 15.

  • The process would likely have been completed by October of last year if the previous system were still in place, he said.
  • "There really is nothing we can do, but be frustrated and patient," Polk Supervisor Chairperson Angela Connolly told Axios Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Kevin Hall, a spokesperson for the SOS, told Axios that census data delays are to blame.

  • Expect the process to be completed later this week, Hall said.
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