Hopkins describes districts

Published 7:34 pm Thursday, February 16, 2012

Kellie Harris Hopkins, Beaufort County’s elections director, has for months been answering voters’ questions about legislative districts redrawn last year by the Republican-led N.C. General Assembly.

Lawmakers redraw the state’s legislative and congressional districts every 10 years following the U.S. census.

Some voters reportedly have been confused about the new outlines of these districts, especially the two newly aligned state House districts that crack Beaufort County apart.

The director’s description of state Senate District 1 is easy enough.

The whole of Beaufort County is included in this district, along with Hyde, Dare, Gates, Camden, Currituck, Pasquotank and Perquimans counties.

Beaufort County has been intact in the 1st District, which was represented by Sen. Marc Basnight, D-Dare, for many years until his retirement in 2011.

“What was the Basnight district, now represented by (Sen.) Stan White (D-Dare), we’re still in,” Hopkins said.

But the state House districts are a little harder to delineate.

Lawmakers in Raleigh split Beaufort County between the 3rd and 6th House districts, carving up the city of Washington.

The county had been kept whole in the old District 6, held by state Rep. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, but now it seems some voters aren’t certain which district they’re in.

Basically, Hopkins explained, District 6 “is the north side of the county plus (the) Gilead (precinct south of the Pamlico River), plus the majority of Washington Ward 4” in the northeast quadrant of the city.

This slice of the city is tucked into a district that includes most of Beaufort County north of the Pamlico plus Hyde, Dare and Washington counties in their entirety.

House District 3 takes in the county south of the river plus the majority of Washington Ward 1 and all of Wards 2 and 3, she said.

“The part that goes to District 3 is you’re coming down John Small (Avenue), you turn right here onto Fifth Street and take 15th to (U.S. Highway) 17,” she said. “So the road the mall’s on is the line. So that pretty little piece of the pie between Market, Fifth and John Small and then 15th taking it over is in the 3rd House district.”

District 3 encompasses parts of west Washington and Aurora, Edward, Blount’s Creek and Chocowinity. The district also spreads through northeast and southeast Craven County, and covers all of Pamlico County.

Beaufort County also is split between two congressional districts, the 1st and 3rd. District 1 is represented by G.K. Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat, and the 3rd district is represented by Walter Jones, a Farmville Republican.

Prior to the Legislature’s adoption of the latest congressional district map, most of the south side of Beaufort County — excepting Gilead — was in District 1. Now, Aurora, Edward, Blount’s Creek and Chocowinity are with Gilead in the 3rd Congressional District, according to Hopkins.

But the division of representation between Jones and Butterfield remains the same in Washington, with Wards 1, 2 and 3 in District 1 and Ward 4 in District 3, she said.

Beaufort County residents with questions about legislative or congressional lines should call the local Board of Elections at 252-946-2321.