San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

STAFF REPORT

The Department of Justice has approved Hays County’s redistricting plan, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2012.

The approval means the county can schedule elections in 2012 without transgressing federal law. Federal law required redistricting in the county when 2010 U.S. Census figures indicated the population of Commissioner Precinct 2 had increased considerably since the 2000 U.S. Census.

Redrawing precinct lines is conducted in accordance with the federal Voting Rights Act, which is intended to ensure minority groups covered by the act maintain their voting strength and representation.

The plan just approved by the feds is M2, which county commissioners approved by a 3-2 vote in mid-August, following several public meetings and hearings. Plan M2 was among four finalists under consideration. Pct. 2 Commissioner Mark Jones and Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley lined up behind Plan M2 while Pct. 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant and Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe backed Plan O or P. County Judge Bert Cobb voted for Plan M2.

In all four plans, Hispanics comprise the largest voting age population in Precinct 1, while Anglos comprise the largest voting age population in the other precincts. Plan M2 has the largest population deviation of the four plans that were under consideration. The federal government requires the creation of districts with a total population deviation of no more than 10 percent between their most heavily populated district and the least populated district. The population deviation among the four plans ranged from 9.44 percent (in Plan M2) and 5.25 percent (in Plan P).

According to Plan M2, 46.5 percent of the total voting age population of Precinct 1 will be Hispanic, 44.6 percent will be Anglo, 6.6 percent will be African American, and 2.3 percent will be “Other.”

According to Plan O, 50.9 percent of the total voting age population of Precinct 1 would have been Hispanic, 41 percent would have been Anglo, six percent would have been African American, and 2.1 percent would have been “Other.”

Commissioners whose precincts were affected by the redistricting are currently determining when and how they will operate satellite offices for residents who are not located conveniently to permanent precinct offices.

According to the county, under the new map, some of the areas that will move into Precinct 3 include H&H Industrial Park, Lowman Ranch, Hunters Hill, Hunters Glen, Lost River Ranches, Preserve at La Ventana, La Ventana West, Vineyard Ridge, Shepley Ranch and Gracy Meadows.

Also moving from Precinct 4 into Precinct 3 are York Creek Meadows and Ranch, Las Lomas, Sierra West, Running Rope, White Wings, Fox Hole, Highlands B, Northwest Hills, Morningwood and Gonzales Estates, according to the county. The subdivisions of Rainbow Ranch, River Mountain Ranch and Rolling Oaks, which are currently divided between Precincts 3 and 4, will now be entirely in Precinct 3. Old Ranch Road 12 will remain in Precinct 3.

Precinct 2 subdivisions Arroyo Ranch and Hometown Kyle will move into Precinct 4 and the Amberwood, Steeplechase and The Trails subdivisions will move to Precinct 1, according to the county.

In Precinct 1, the area between Aquarena Springs Drive and Hopkins Street moves to Precinct 4, and West Wonder World Drive, now shared between Precincts 1 and 3, will be completely in Precinct 3, according to the county.

PLAN M2 (NOTE: The voting age population figures in this document represent percentages of total population, not proportions of total voting age population.)

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