Travis County approves preliminary redistricting maps

Photo of a sign that reads "Travis County"
Travis County is set to finalize redistricting maps Nov. 10. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Travis County is set to finalize redistricting maps Nov. 10. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Travis County commissioners approved a set of preliminary redistricting maps at a Nov. 4 meeting.

The new maps adjust for population changes tracked in the 2020 U.S. census. Per state and federal law, commissioners must vote on new boundary lines for the county's four commissioner precincts as well as approximately 200 election precincts, ensuring each precinct is similar in population.

Commissioner precincts must be within a 10% standard deviation of one another in population size. According to consultants Gary Bledsoe and Rolando Rios, the 2020 census showed commissioner precincts violate that federal requirement at a 19.61% deviation between the largest and smallest district. Precinct 3 has the largest population with 351,240 residents, and Precinct 4 has the least with 287,989. Precincts 1 and 2 have 343,953 residents and 307,006 residents, respectively.

"We have to get people into Precinct 4 and then the rest try to distribute as best as possible," Rios said.

The county is also tasked with considering the level of minority representation in each precinct. As of 2020, precincts 1 and 4 had the highest Hispanic populations at 43.22% and 49.17%, and Precinct 3 had the highest population of Black residents at 37.03%. Rios said county staff drew suggested precincts to comply with the federal Voting Rights Act's directive not to "dilute the voting strength of minorities."


Bledsoe said this consideration was specifically taken when examining precincts 1 and 4 around the Wells Branch area.

"There was a big concern about reuniting Wells Branch and making sure that Wells Branch was in one commissioner's precinct," Bledsoe said. "The area up in Wells Branch in Pflugerville, those are the areas of highest African American growth in the county, and it just seemed logical that those might go into Precinct 1."

Commissioners voted on slight amendments to the maps presented by consultants at the meeting, adding a small amount of area to Precinct 3. The maps can be viewed here but have not yet been updated to reflect those amendments.

The court is scheduled to vote on a final map at a special meeting Nov. 10, which is open to public comment.
By Olivia Aldridge

Reporter, Central Austin

Olivia joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in March 2019. She covers public health, business, development and Travis County government. A graduate of Presbyterian College in South Carolina, Olivia worked as a reporter and producer for South Carolina Public Radio before moving to Texas. Her work has appeared on NPR and in the New York Times.



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