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Steele Creek Likely to Loose Influence on County Boards

Commissioner Districts(May 7, 2011) Before the 2012 elections, the six districts used to elect district members of the Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board must be redrawn to make their populations more equal based on 2010 census counts. (Each board also has three members elected at-large.)

The 2010 census population of Mecklenburg County was 919,628, so each district should have approximately 153,271 persons. The 2010 census population of Steele Creek was 52,014, up 106% from the 2000 census count of 25,282. If Steele Creek remains in tact in one district, it will make up 34% of that district and could be in a position to have a major influence over who gets elected from that district and would tend to be listened to by its representatives.

Steele Creek currently is within county commissioner and school board District 2, represented by Vilma Leake on the County Commission and by Richard McElrath on the Board of Education, but that likely will change. (See Current Map and Table below.)

Mecklenburg County has created a Redistricting Tool that citizens can use to create district plans and become partners in the redistricting process. New districts must meet the following standards:

  • The population difference between the largest and smallest districts must be no more than 10%, which means a range of approximately 145,600 to 160,900.
  • Minorities must make up a majority of the voting age population in two districts. A majority is defined as at least 53% of one minority, either Black or Hispanic.
  • Three districts must likely elect Democrats and three must likely elect Republicans based on the number of voters who voted a straight party ticket in the last two national elections.

According to 2010 census data, 47.4% of the voting age population of District 2 was Black and 15.9% was Hispanic, for a total minority percentage of 63.3%. However, apparently at least 53% must be of one minority. To meet the standard, District 2 needs a higher percentage Black population. The only apparent way to achieve this is to remove Steele Creek precincts with high counts of White population from the district.

Steele Creek precincts have tended to vote Democratic, making them compatible politically with District 2. All Steele Creek precincts had a majority of straight ticket voters voting Democratic in the 2008 election, and all but two (200 - Berryhill Elementary School and 229 - Christ the King Lutheran Church) had a majority of straight ticket voters voting Democratic in the 2010 election.

Several plan suggestions have been posted on the Redistricting Tool site, but only three (excluding the Demo) meet all three standards listed above. (See below.) As the maps of the sample plans below show, all three plans transfer several Steele Creek precincts to Districts 1, 5, or 6 and reduce the number of Steele Creek precincts included in District 2. Based on any of these plans, Steele Creek precincts would make up no more than 20% of any District, including District 2. Several Steele Creek precincts likely will be lumped in with predominantly White, Republican areas in the Lake Norman area of North Mecklenburg or in Southeast Charlotte.

Steele Creek is a more diverse, middle-class area with little in common with Districts 1, 5, and 6. The bulk of the population and voters in those districts would be far away from Steele Creek, and Steele Creek could easily be overlooked by whoever represents them. It would be preferable for Steele Creek to remain united in one district. If it is split among three districts, its influence over county politics will be severely reduced.

Sample Redistricting Plans from Redistricting Tool.

Steele Creek Area Plan   Steele Creek Area Plan
Steele Creek Area Plan  

Steele Creek Area Plan

To topCommissioner Districts


2010 Population Optimum Population Difference Percent Variance
1 199,449 153,271 46,178 30.13%
2 143,172 153,271 -10,099 -6.59%
3 167,077 153,271 13,806 9.01%
4 121,614 153,271 -31,657 -20.65%
5 127,800 153,271 -25,471 -16.62%
6 160,516 153,271 7,245 4.73%



The City Council also must update its districts. The current city council districts are shown below. New districts must be set before July 25, which is the beginning of candidate filing for the November 2011 City Council elections.

City Council Districts

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