“The reason I wanted to get started now, and I know we don't have a census until April 1, but I felt like if you guys could start meeting now you can lay out a game plan.” County Judge Bill Gravell said.
The three members are Commissioners Cynthia Long of Precinct 2 and Valerie Covey of Precinct 3, who will also chair the committee, as well as George Strebel, who works with Williamson County Graphical Information Systems.
Gravell tasked the committee to look into legal representation to guide the county during the process, whether additional committee members will be needed and a plan for the new redistricting process.
While the 2020 census data will not be available until April 1, Gravell said he would like to get the conversation started so the county is prepared to begin the redistricting process when it begins.
The committee will only advise on redistricting at the county’s four precinct levels. Individual jurisdictions such as cities and schools will have to do redistricting at their own levels, and any redistricting that happens at the state level will be done by state legislators, officials said.
Commissioners added they anticipate the population in the county to be about 625,000 following the 2020 census, up from about 422,000 in 2010.
When a concern about gerrymandering, or the manipulation of boundaries to favor one party, was brought up during public comment, Covey assured the public that would not occur in Williamson County. Covey, who was part of redistricting efforts in 2010, said it was a smooth process in working with data experts to draw lines legally.
She added there are several rules that they have to follow as far as not separating groups of people and ensuring representation at the state level also falls in line.
“There's all kinds of technical pieces of drawing the lines that have to be taken into consideration,” Covey said.