|San Jacinto News-Times - Local News
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Redistricting plans show disparity
San Jacinto News- Times
COLDSPRING – The public has been presented two proposed redistricting plans for commissioner and justice precincts and will now be able to comment on the proposals Thursday, Sept. 8, beginning at 10 a.m. in the commissioners’ courtroom. Following the public comment portion of the special meeting, San Jacinto County Commissioners’ Court will have a time to consider and make any changes desired before taking action to adopt the county’s fi nal redistricting plan and to authorize redistricting legal counsel to seek Voting Rights Act Section V pre-clearance of the adopted plan. According to the 2010 Census data, the county’s commissioner and justice precincts are not of suffi - ciently equal population and must be redrawn in order to comply with the “one-person, one-vote” principle established by the U.S. Constitution. The ideal size for each of the county’s four precincts would be 6,596 persons per district. That number is arrived by dividing four (the number of precincts) into the new county population of 26,384 established by the 2010 Census. The commissioner and justice precincts are coterminous, having the same boundaries. The court was presented four plans by its redistricting legal council in which to choose. Two plans from the four were chosen by the court. PLAN 1 Given an ideal size in each precinct of 6,596, Plan 1 shows a 6,580 population (16 more than ideal) for Precinct 1, with 854 (12.98 percent) being Hispanic; 4,979 (75.67 percent) being Anglo and 587 (8.92 percent) being African-American. Precinct 2 in Plan 1 shows a population of 6,608 persons (12 more than ideal) with 877 (13.27 percent) Hispanic; 4,905 (74.23 percent) Anglo and 619 (9.37 percent) African-American. Precinct 3 in Plan 1 shows a population of 6,868 (272 more than ideal) with 862 (12.55 percent) Hispanic; 5,244 (76.35 percent) Anglo and 630 (9.17 percent) African-American. Precinct 4 in Plan 1 shows a population of 6,328 (268 less than ideal) with 287 (4.54 percent) Hispanic; 5,076 (80.21 percent) Anglo and 826 (10.03 percent) African-American. PLAN 2 Also given the ideal size in each precinct of 6,596, Plan 2 shows Precinct 1 with 6,558 persons (38 less than ideal); with 849 (12.95 percent) Hispanic; 4,906 (74.81 percent) Anglo and 647 (9.87 percent) African-American. Precinct 2 in Plan 2 shows a population of 6,608 persons (12 more than ideal) with 877 (13.27 percent) Hispanic; 4,905 (74.23 percent) Anglo and 619 (9.37 percent) African-American. Precinct 3 in Plan 2 shows a population of 6,890 (294 more than ideal); with 867 (12.58 percent) Hispanic; 5,317 (77.17 percent) Anglo and 570 (8.27 percent) African-American. Precinct 4 in Plan 2 shows a population of 6,328 (268 less than ideal); with 287 (4.54 percent) Hispanic; 5,078 (80.21 percent) Anglo and 826 (13.05 percent) African-American. Precinct 3 is noted by the Census as the fastest growing precinct in the county. However, both Plan 1 and Plan 2 shows Precinct 3 still with the largest number of persons compared to the ideal 6,596 persons in each precinct (Plan 1 with 272 more and Plan 2 with 294 more) while in Precinct 4 there are 268 less than ideal in Plan 1 and Plan 2. Criteria for use in the redistricting process and adopted by commissioners state precincts must be configured so they are relatively equal in total population according to the 2010 Census, with no total deviation between the largest and smallest precinct greater than 10 percent. Other criteria states where possible, easily identifiable boundaries should be followed; communities of interest should be maintained in a single precinct where possible and splitting neighborhoods should be avoided; if possible, precincts should be composed of whole voting precincts. Where it is not possible, precincts should be drawn in a way that permits the creation of practical voting precincts and that ensures adequate facilities for poling places exist in each voting precinct; precincts should be compact and composed of contiguous (connecting) territory; consideration may be given to the preservation of incumbent-constituency relations by recognition of the incumbents and their history in representing certain areas; the plan should be narrowly tailored to avoid retrogression in the position of racial minorities as defined in the Voting Rights Act with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise; and the plan should not fragment a geographically compact minority community or pack minority voters in the presence of polarized voting so as to create liability under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, 42 USC 1973.