Montgomery County received a recommendation to redraw commissioner precincts following the release of data from the 2020 U.S. Census and an analysis by the law firm Bickerstaff Heath Delgado.
The county’s total population grew by over 160,000 in the past decade, according to the census. Bickerstaff Heath attorney David Méndez said in an Oct. 21 letter that a commissioner precinct’s “ideal population” would now be 155,111 per precinct, if Montgomery County were divided into four precincts.
Méndez said Precinct 4, represented by Commissioner James Metts, was the most populous precinct with 163,089 residents, while Precinct 1, represented by Commissioner Robert Walker, was the least populous with 144,667 residents. The deviation between the two precincts is greater than 10%, which according to the Texas Government Code means precincts must be redrawn to make populations as close to even as possible, to meet the one-person, one-vote standard required by the United States Constitution.
In addition to redrawing districts based on population size, Méndez said the county needed to be aware of potential violations of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits any voting standard, practice, or procedure—including new redistricting plans—that have the effect of discriminating against a protected minority group.
Bickerstaff Heath provided a breakdown of demographics by precinct according to census demographics.
Commissioners will meet Nov. 3 to see the initial presentation. Members of the public will also be given the opportunity to present alternate plans or comment on the proposed maps. According to the Montgomery County Commissioners Court public notice on the county's website, citizen-submitted plans must be complete for all four districts.