County officials are promising transparency in the upcoming redistricting process and have scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, Feb. 22 in Canton.

The hearing will be held at 9 a.m. in the board room of the Madison County Chancery Courthouse at 146 West Center Street.

Redistricting will not effect the upcoming 2011 county elections, according to officials, and won't come into play until 2015.

Any redistricting plan must be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Madison County Attorney Eric Hamer said the redistricting process will be open to the public for questions and comments.

"It's going to be a transparent process and will be considered at our board meetings for months to come," Hamer said.

Madison County District 2 Supervisor Tim Johnson also promised several more public hearings moving forward as district lines are moved and proposed.

In October, supervisor decided to perform the work in house instead of commissioning it to an outside agency.

They have formed a committee to facilitate the redistricting process that includes County Attorney Eric Hamer, County Administrator Brad Sellers, Supervisors Tim Johnson and Karl Banks, Circuit Clerk Lee Westbrook and Election Commission Attorney Spence Flatgard of Capital Resources, LLC.

Hamer said there are a lot of variables to consider so it is hard to tell how long it will take.

He said they are concerned with several issues including split precincts that come from having so many state House and Senate districts in the county, which will also be redistricted this year.

"We have eight different representatives in the House and four different Senators," Hamer said. "That causes a lot of issues and potential splits in precincts.

"We need to decide whether to wait and see what the Legislature does," he continued. "If we do it could cause less splits and minimize voter confusion."