On Nov. 10, 2021, the Wharton County Commissioners Courts met in special session and held a public hearing on the re-districting of county political boundaries.
According to the Texas Election Code, Texas commissioners court must conduct a periodic assessment of their political boundaries to determine whether the boundaries retain a one-person-one-vote balance.
The firm Allison, Bass & Magee LLP out of Austin is assisting the court in comparing the latest census data and formulating or redrawing the precinct maps to control the population deviation between each precinct.
Here is the current population deviation reflected through the 2020 census:
As you can see, the largest voting precinct is currently Pct.1 with a population of 10,955. Second, is Pct. 3 with a population of 10,899. Third and fourth are Pct. 4 with a population of 10,021, and Pct. 2 with 9,695.
Since total maximum deviations exceed 10%, the county is required to redistrict by the Texas Election Code, and commissioners have moved forward with closing the gap and balancing out precinct populations.
Frank Reilly was present on behalf of the firm for the public hearing. He presented to commissioners a proposed map that greatly decreased the total maximum deviation.
The presented population per precinct are as follows:
- Pct. 1 – 10,396
- Pct. 2 – 10,467
- Pct. 3 – 10,424
- Pct. 4 – 10,283
As proposed, the new precincts would have a total deviation of less than 3%, and set boundaries for the county commissioners court precincts, and county political boundaries including Justice of the Peace and Constables offices.
Reilly said during his presentation, “As you can see the maximum deviation is less than 2%, which is phenomenal as far as getting to one-person-one-vote. That is very hard to get to at that level.”
Commissioners requested that the map colors be changed to match the current county’s color scheme, and unanimously adopted the proposed boundaries.
The firm will continue to work with county Election Administrator Cindy Richter to finalize the voting districts. And will once again, return to gain court approval.
The Texas Secretary of State requires that finalization of re-districting must be completed prior to January 2022.
To view meeting minutes and agendas, please visit the Wharton County website.