PEMBROKE — The Lumbee Tribal Council on Thursday passed a resolution affirming that the process used to create new voting districts was proper, with only two of 19 council members present voting in opposition.
“The redistricting was completed fairly and properly by the Lumber River Council of Governments and in accordance with the requirements of the Lumbee Tribal Constitution,” the resolution reads. “We now hereby in session affirm the redistricting process for 2016 complete.”
The redistricting process for the 21-member council created seven new districts, bringing the total number of voting districts in line with the number of representatives on the council. The council currently is made up of 21 members elected from 14 voting districts.
The districts were drawn by the Lumber River Council of Governments based on 2010 census results. According to the tribe’s constitution, redistricting is to be done after each 10-year census.
Those voting against the resolution were William Maiden and Lakishia Sweat.
Maiden objected to a statement by Redistricting Committee Chairman Larry Townsend that the entire committee had voted in favor of recommending to the council that the resolution be approved.
“I’m on the committee and did not vote in favor,” Maiden said.
Sweat after the meeting said she voted against the resolution because she did not think it was a good idea to change voting districts so close to the upcoming election. She said people, including herself, are not sure in which voting district they now reside.
Filing for the Nov. 15 election is underway. The new district maps were received by the tribe’s Board of Elections less than a week before the candidate filing period began. The maps can be viewed at the Board of Elections and at lumbeetribe.com.
In other business, the council received $2,000 from AT&T to support the tribe’s annual back-to-school program. The program provides school supplies at the beginning of the school year to students who can’t afford to purchase the supplies themselves.
The $2,000 was presented by John H. Lyon, AT&T’s regional director for external affairs. This is the ninth year that the company has presented money to the tribe to support this program.
“It is AT&T’s endeavor to help students in school and to eventually graduate,” Lyon told the council. “School supplies are something the students need if they are to succeed.”
State Rep. Charles Graham attended the meeting with Lyon and took part in the check presentation. Lyon said it was Graham who brought to his attention nine years ago the tribe’s efforts to provide needy students with the supplies they need to start off the school year.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.