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City of Lubbock asking for citizen comments on redistricting

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 6:29 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Lubbock City Council will host a work session inviting citizen comment on council redistricting.

Based on 2020 census data, the City of Lubbock was informed it needed to go through the redistricting process due to the current districts being out of population balance, according to a news release. The “one person, one vote” doctrine of the U.S. Constitution requires districts to be roughly equal in population, with a maximum deviation of ten percent between the most and least populated districts. According to the city’s initial assessment, the current deviation is over 46 percent.

Another concern in the redistricting process is avoiding racial discrimination and equal protection claims, according to the city’s initial assessment. The federal Voting Rights Act requires the city to consider race when redistricting; however, race cannot be the predominant factor in drawing a district’s boundaries. Districts that “pack” minority groups into a single district in order to limit their voting strength in other districts could be considered discriminatory, as well as districts that “fracture” or “crack” minority groups into small groups across districts to dilute their voting power.

Current Lubbock City Council Districts
Current Lubbock City Council Districts(City of Lubbock)

The need for redistricting is best seen in the contrast between City Council Districts 2 and 5. District 2, currently represented by Shelia Patterson-Harris, is the smallest district at 36,709 residents, and District 5, currently represented by Randy Christian, is the largest at 56,498 residents - a difference of nearly 20,000 people. The ideal, proportional district size would be around 43,000 residents, according to the initial assessment.

Additionally, District 2, which encompasses most of East Lubbock, is about 78 percent non-white (and 22 percent Black). District 5, which is centered around the quickly-growing Southwest Lubbock area, is nearly two-thirds non-Hispanic white, according to the initial assessment. The City of Lubbock is right around 50 percent non-Hispanic white, according to census data.

In order to address these concerns, City Council will have a citizen comment opportunity at its next session on Nov. 16, according to a news release. The meeting will start at 9 a.m. with the initial drawing session. Public comments will be open at the start of the regular meeting at approximately 5 p.m. Citizens are also invited to submit their own complete proposed redistricting plans.

The city hopes to be done with the redistricting process by mid-December.

For more information, visit mylubbock.us/redistricting2021.

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