Better East Texas: Redistricting in East Texas

By Pat Stacey

One of the first and certainly most significant effects of the 2010 census is that the state of Texas will add 4 seats in Congress.  Many people know also, that the state is going through a redistricting exercise as well as state legislative districts will change.

But even less people will take notice that our counties will be redrawing the district lines for county commissioners.  You might say that this is as exciting as watching paint dry but there is some significant impact on how commissioners are elected – specifically who their voting base is – and how county services are allocated.

Smith County, for example, is holding two public hearings on June 21st at the courthouse in downtown Tyler.  These hearings are for county residents to voice their opinions on how district lines will be redrawn.

The state constitution requires that the lines be changed to reflect changes in population and many county districts in East Texas have experienced significant population growth since the last census.

The state constitution also protects minority voting blocks from being divided, thus diluting the impact in the individual districts.  Suffice it say that this is a core event that happens rarely that affects everyone in every county in East Texas. So contact your county and find out how your tax dollars are applied.

And that will make for a Better East Texas.

For more information on the redistricting process, visit the Smith County website.