The county must approve new commissioner precincts by Nov. 12 to be ready for March 2022 primary elections, according to attorney David Méndez of Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta LLP. Méndez said that failing to redraw the lines could open the county up to a possible lawsuit alleging that the "one person, one vote" principle was violated.
Commissioners approved two orders at a Nov. 3 special session: the first setting guidelines for redrawing commissioner precincts and the second establishing guidelines for public comments.
The court's order adopting criteria for commissioner precinct redistricting
The court's order adopting guidelines for citizen-submitted redistricting plans
Montgomery County approved an agreement with Bickerstaff Heath on Oct. 12 to provide its initial assessment, which cost $6,500. Méndez delivered the presentation at the special session.
Méndez discussed the county’s “population imbalance” shown in the 2020 U.S. Census and why the county needed to redraw its precincts. He described the imbalance as “very minor.”
“We see no reason to disrupt the sitting commissioners; we want to keep each incumbent in your district,” Méndez told commissioners. “Courts find that to be a discriminatory practice."
Although no official decision was taken, Méndez demonstrated possible drawings. With Precinct 1 and Precinct 4 the least and most populous, respectively, several maps were shown proposing reallocations of several different population blocks.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Robert Walker and Precinct 4 Commissioner James Metts recessed to executive session to further discuss the Precinct 1 and Precinct 4 boundaries, and no action was taken.
The court will hear public comment and review citizen-submitted maps Nov. 9. Montgomery County’s current precinct map can be viewed on the county website. Jason Milsaps, the chief of staff for County Judge Mark Keough, said amended maps would be available on the agenda for the Nov. 9 meeting.