Following the 2020 U.S. Census, Harris County commissioners selected a new boundary map for the county’s four commissioner precincts at a special-called meeting Oct. 28.
Harris County commissioners voted 3-2, with Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle and Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey dissenting, in favor of a map proposed by Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis.
“The map we passed here today stands in stark contrast to the radical gerrymandering passed in Austin, which was designed solely to preserve the power of the governor and Republican legislators at the expense of fair representation for all Texans,” Ellis said in an Oct. 28 statement.
The precinct redistricting takes into account population changes over the past ten years, shown in the 2020 U.S. Census. Under the new map, Spring and parts of Tomball and The Woodlands that were previously considered Precinct 4 will now be considered Precinct 3. Katy and areas west of Hwy. 290 will now fall under Precinct 4. The new Precinct 3 will also include Crosby and Barrett, which were previously represented by Precinct 2.
“I thought [the] Ellis 3 [map] was a joke,” Cagle said. “In essence, you're taking everybody that was in precinct four, and you crammed them into precinct three, and you took everybody that was in precinct three, and you crammed them into four. ... Your people of service are all going to be served by strangers, in terms of flipping all of the resources.”
Commissioners held two hearings on the redistricting where members of the public could voice their opinions and propose their own maps for the county. Out of almost 200 residents, politicians and local organization representatives who signed up to speak at the Oct. 21 and 28 hearings, dozens expressed concerns over the proposed maps.
Some raised concerns that the proposed maps would dilute the voices of minority voters. Others expressed concerns about breaking up neighborhoods and communities that have bonded over the past 10 years into different precincts, while some worried Ellis’ proposed map would wipe out the voting power of Republicans in the county.
More information will be available on the transition process for the new precincts at upcoming commissioners court meetings.