County commissioners began the redistricting process after receiving data from the 2020 U.S. census. According to Julie Wheller, Travis County intergovernmental relations officer, the county grew by 20.6% between 2010 and 2020, totaling 1.29 million residents. County staff and consultants were tasked with overseeing the development of maps that balanced the size of the county's four commissioner districts, which experienced unequal growth over the past decade.
"It's not a perfect map, but we think it's a very good map," redistricting consultant Gary Bledsoe said at Commissioners Court Nov. 10 special voting session. "It recognizes ... areas of growth and development in terms of what's actually going on in the county."
Much of the development process focused on balancing the population of Precinct 3, which has the largest number of residents at 351,240, with Precinct 4, the smallest district at 287,989 residents. After redistricting, the precincts are all within a 10% standard deviation of each other in population size, in compliance with state law.
Staff and consultants said they also focused on the concentration of minority residents in each precinct, working to keep neighborhoods together.
"What we were seeking to do was to ensure the continuation of the minority coalition districts in [precincts] 1 and 4 and to respect traditional redistricting principles in terms of how to configure all of the precincts," Bledsoe said.
Commissioners also approved revised constable and justice of the peace maps at their Nov. 10 meeting. While counties are not required to revise those maps following a census, Travis County chose to make tweaks due to the existence of precincts with zero voters, areas where 90% or more of the area was covered by water. Those areas were combined with other existing constable/justice of the peace precincts.
Commissioners still need to vote on finalized election precincts, of which there are around 200 in Travis County. That vote is set to occur in mid-December following opportunities for public input, Wheeler said.