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Government

New district maps head to Dallas mayor, council amid complaints that whites are overrepresented

A map of new proposed Dallas City Council districts.
Dallas Redistricting Commission
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https://districtr.org/plan/128962
The Dallas City Council has 14 districts. The mayor, who also votes on legislation, is elected citywide.

A commission redrawing city council lines in Dallas approved new boundaries on Tuesday, leaving current districts largely intact and white residents overrepresented.

Commissioners voted 9 to 6 on Tuesday to send a new map to city council members. The “no” votes wanted more opportunities for Black and Hispanic people to win council seats — opportunities more in line with their share of the population.

Dallas is less than 30% white, but the largest percentage of voting age residents would be white in six of the 14 proposed districts.

“One of the reasons that this is a status quo map, once again, is because there is an unwillingness to share power,” said commission member Diane Ragsdale, who voted no. “This is about power sharing.”

But commissioner Roy Lopez voted yes, saying district lines aren’t the only way to achieve that.

“This is not the forum where we solve Dallas’ socioeconomic problems,” Lopez said. “It’s a tool but it’s not the tool.”

The plan now heads to the mayor, who will present it to city council for final approval.

City councilmembers can change the district lines, but “the proposed plan must be approved by a vote of three-fourths of the members of the city council,” according to city code. Otherwise, they can approve the districts with a simple majority.

If there’s no action 45 days after the proposal goes to the mayor, the districts become final. Ninety days later, they go into effect for elections.

Got a tip? Email Bret Jaspers at bjaspers@kera.org. You can follow Bret on Twitter @bretjaspers.

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