Reshaping Austin’s political boundaries
Austin is remodeling its city council limits – and the redistribution commission organizes public forums to obtain comments.
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Why is this important: Austin’s population is larger and more diverse than it was when the districts were first drawn in 2013. The redistribution changes the way Austinites are represented on city council, including their political weight. and the composition of the board itself.
Yes, but: Even though the city is more diverse, its percentage of black residents has declined and has become more diffuse, challenging cartographers to create a district with a decisive mass of black voters.
What they say : “We are trying to make it possible for a person of color to elect a representative of their choice,” Christina Liu Puentes, chairman of the redistribution commission, told Axios.
Puentes was primarily speaking of black and Latino Austinites from the East Side of Austin.
The Redistribution Commission decided to forgo an “Asian opportunity district” – even though Austinites of Asian descent now outnumber black residents.
“Essentially, we don’t have an Asian Opportunity District in Austin because Asians in Texas have no precedent for levels of voter suppression and oppression as Asians in the West,” said Puentes.
Asian population “is more dispersed than the African American population,” Austin city demographer Lila Valencia told Axios.
“The Asian population is mainly located in three main areas of the city: northwest, northeast and southwest,” she continued. “The challenge, even in these areas, will be to see if there are enough Asians and Asian voters to draw a district that gives them the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice.
How it works: Each of the 10 city council members should represent the same number of voters, according to city guidelines.
Make your voice heard : Municipal authorities will welcome a Zoom forum from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today.
The big picture: The low temperature of the city process contrasts with the ongoing redistribution battle at the State Capitol, as lawmakers argue over the limits of Congress that could shift the balance of power in Washington.
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