A City Council-appointed, 11-member Redistricting Task Force that will advise on redistricting issues in Fort Worth presented its draft criteria as part of its interim report.
In 2016, Fort Worth voters approved an amendment to the City Charter to increase the number of City Council members from nine to 11 following the completion of the 2020 Census. The Task Force on Race and Culture in December 2018 recommended the goal of ensuring that the City Council reflects the diverse communities that it represents.
On Tuesday, Redistricting Task Force Chair Lorraine Miller presented 10 criteria for redistricting.
High-priority criteria (not in any particular order):
- Districts should be approximately equal size. The population of the largest district should be no more than 10% greater than the population of the smallest district.
- Redistricting should be completed in compliance with the U.S. Constitution, Voting Rights Act, Texas Constitution and other applicable laws, with no packing of minority voters, no fragmentation of minority communities and no retrogression in the ability of minorities to participate in the electoral process.
- The process should create minority opportunity districts, in compliance with federal law, to further reflect the growing diversity of Fort Worth.
- The new district alignment should contain communities of interest in single districts. Community of interest is defined as “a local population with shared socio-economic characteristics and political institutions that would benefit from unified representation.”
- Districts should be contiguous territory.
Lower-priority criteria, in no particular order of priority:
- Compact districts, with the goal of attaining a Polsby-Popper ratio of >0.050. Learn more about the Polsby-Popper ratio.
- Identifiable geographic boundaries
- Contain whole voting precincts
- Contain whole census blocks or block groups.
- New districts should not take into consideration the places of residence of incumbents or potential candidates.
The task force also suggested that software training be provided to residents who are interested in the redistricting process, and that proposed redistricting plans submitted by residents be analyzed and presented to the City Council.
The group is urging for transparency in the redistricting process by potentially requiring all map drawing to occur at public meetings, with computer screens visible to all parties.
Upcoming activities for the Redistricting Task Force:
Jan. 4, 2021, 6 p.m. The task force chair and staff will present a virtual Redistricting 101 seminar. Participation details will be announced later.
Jan. 11-21, 2021. The task force will conduct a series of virtual public hearings in English and Spanish. Details will be announced soon.
Feb. 4, 2021, 3 p.m. The task force will discuss comments from the public meetings and reach agreement on final recommendations.
March 2, 2021, 3 p.m. The task force will present its final report to the City Council.
March 16, 2021, 7 p.m. The City Council will adopt a resolution accepting the final report.
All meetings of the Redistricting Task Force are open to the public.