8 Austin Redistricting Commissioners Selected

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Earlier this week, the City of Austin's Independent Redistricting Commission came into fuller focus. Of 60 qualified applicants, 8 names were randomly chosen to be on a 14-person panel. The following are your first commissioners:

Magdalena Blanco

Mariano Diaz-Miranda

Rachel Farris

William Hewitt

Carmen Llanes Pulido

Arthur Lopez

Anna Saenz

Maria Solis

Read more to find out what's next to mamke sure we have single member district elections November of next year.The partial commission will have its first meeting next Friday, May 31. It's first order of business: selecting the rest of the commission. It is up to these 8 to flesh out the rest of the commission, based on the other 52 pre-selected qualified applicants and a group of diversity considerations including race, geography, sex, and student-status.

Some of diversity is already selected through that random drawing. Five of Eight are female and Six of Eight are Hispanic. Only one is classified as white and one is American Indian. Geographically speaking, five of eight live in Travis County Commissioner Precinct 4. Two live in Precinct 1 and one lives in Precinct 2.

There are currently no African American or Asian members of the panel, so one can expect that deficiency to be remedied in the remaining six selections. There's also not a student, so it is possible that a student will be selected, too, especially if Travis County precincts are used as a metric for geographical diversity — both students on the list of 60 live in Precint 3, which currently has no members.

There's no official date set as a goal for selecting the remaining members of the commission. If older proposed schedules are any indication, however, that's likely to be accomplished in the next couple months.

A final redistricting plan would probably be adopted sometime between December 2013 and April 2014. Elections are set for November 4, 2014.

(Also of note, Redistricting Commissioner Rachel Farris used to write one mean blog about politics.)

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  1. Six Additional Commissioners
    Since the charter requires that one of the fourteen commissioners be a student, one of the two students among the 60 most qualified will definitely be selected. Here's the charter requirement:

    One commission member shall be a student duly enrolled in a community college or university in the City of Austin and who resides and is registered to vote in the City of Austin.”

    The other five will be chosen to balance the commission in terms of race, ethnicity, and gender. Here's the relevant charter requirement:

    These six appointees shall be chosen to ensure that the commission reflects the diversity of the City of Austin, including, but not limited to, racial, ethnic, and gender diversity.  However, it is not intended that formulas or specific ratios be applied for this purpose.  Applicants shall also be chosen based on relevant analytical skills and ability to be impartial.  As for geographic diversity, for the first redistricting in 2013, the eight commissioners shall appoint the remaining six members to ensure geographic diversity and that at least three commissioners come from each of the four existing Travis County Commissioners districts, to the extent feasible with the remaining six open seats.

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