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Where do you draw the line?


by: Kirk Watson

Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 00:24 PM CDT


As many of you know, every ten years, states redraw their state and federal legislative districts to reflect new census data. What you may not be as familiar with is our infamous redistricting history in Texas.

The most recent, and probably most egregious, attempt at redistricting happened in 2003. We are still recovering from that battle.

Now, it's time for Texas to redistrict according to the new census numbers. So, even facing a deep budget hole and a typical set of legislative battles, we have to tackle redistricting, too.

Let's Get Into the Details

The Texas House of Representatives has 150 members, while the Texas Senate has 31 members. Each of those members' districts must be drawn with almost exactly the same number of people. According to census information, each Senate district should have around 811,147 people. To put that number in perspective, each Texas Senate district will have more residents than the states of Wyoming, Vermont, or Alaska. Each Texas House District should have 167,637 people after redistricting.

Unlike the number of Congressional Districts (which can increase or decrease based on the rate of population growth in Texas relative to the rest of the country), the number of Texas Senate districts is set at 31. So, as the population of Texas increases, the number of people within each Senate district also increases.

Simply dividing the districts evenly by population, of course, isn't very hard. Doing so in a way that is legal, and that fairly reflects Texas regional and political views as well as its historic communities of interest, is another matter. To get more information on Texas redistricting, visit: www.kirkwatson.com.

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Exhibit A: SBOE Plan 101 (3.00 / 1)
The fact that Solomon drew the SBOE line right throw the middle of Travis County shows that this process is ridiculous.  Here's the Travis SBOE picture via Greg Wythe.

Unfortunately, because these districts are so big (ideal population 1,676,371), it's probably even legal.  Our only real recourse is to draft Chet Edwards to run for the North district, which includes Waco and Temple.

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