Loudoun County’s local redistricting plan was approved by the U.S. Department of Justice, according to a Loudoun County statement Thursday.

The plan, adopted by the Loudoun Board of Supervisors in April, establishes district boundaries, voting precincts and polling places for eight new election districts: Algonkian, Ashburn, Blue Ridge, Broad Run, Catoctin, Dulles, Leesburg and Sterling.

Adoption of the redistricting plan followed an extensive and controversial public process that began in early 2010. County leaders were faced with redrawing the county’s election district lines to accommodate a population that surged from 169,599 in 2000 to 312,311 in 2010, according to Census Bureau data.

Residents packed public input hearings to express a range of opinions on how the county should be divided while considering the interests of its many communities – a challenging issue in a county with a significant cultural divide between its suburban eastern communities and more rural western region.

With the approval of the Justice Department, the county will proceed with the distribution of new voter registration cards reflecting the new districts, according to county officials.