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Brooke Officials Question Precincts in Redistricting

September 5, 2011
By JOSELYN KING - Political Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WELLSBURG - Redistricting legislation that takes one delegate away from Brooke County's representation in Charleston was signed into law Friday by acting West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

Brooke County officials, though, are questioning whether the redistricting bill contains technical errors, as it lists three precinct numbers for Brooke County that haven't existed for more than a decade, according to Brooke County Clerk Sylvia Benzo.

Benzo said when she received her copy of the redistricting bill, she noticed it made reference to these former precincts:

Precincts13 and 20 A are listed as remaining in the 2nd District.

"The bill quotes wrong information," Benzo said. "My concern is, are they taking more than they need to take (from Brooke County) for redistricting? Are they taking the proper people to make up the distribution of people?"

Brooke County officials had been vocal in urging Tomblin to veto the redistricting legislation.

The 2nd District is presently represented by Democratic Delegates Tim Ennis and Roy Givens, and Ennis said he was "disappointed" to learn Tomblin had signed the redistricting bill. He acknowledged the fight for Brooke County to maintain both delegates is probably over.

"As far as the Legislature and the executive branch is considered, yes," Ennis said. "Whether there will be court challenges, I don't know. I've heard discussions that that will happen.

"This whole thing hasn't been about me or Delegate Givens," Ennis added. "It's about losing a voice for Brooke County in Charleston. I don't think anybody in the Northern Panhandle is happy about that."

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