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Politics

The city of Dallas is redrawing district lines. How will it impact you?

city of dallas skyline.jpeg
Keren Carrión
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KERA

The 2020 census shows overall growth in Dallas’ population and in the majority of its council districts. Now, the city is looking at district lines to review if they are evenly divided by population.

Dallas City Council has appointed 15 members to a redistricting commission to review population changes seen on the 2020 census and to determine if the city’s 14 districts have an equal number of residents.

Latest census results show that the city of Dallas grew by an additional 106,563 residents. Racial demographics remained the same as 10 years ago, with Latinos representing 42% of the population, followed by white residents at 28%, Black residents at 23%, Asians at 4%, and Native and Pacific Islanders representing less than 1% each.

On Wednesday, council received a play-by-play on how each district changed.

If it's determined that districts are not balanced in representation, the commission is required to come up with new maps that would rebalance the population among the districts.

Here’s what you need to know about that process:

Why is redistricting important?

Redistricting is the process of creating representational district maps for local communities. It typically takes place after each census. Political leaders redraw, shape and change the boundaries of districts. These districts determine government representation and the division of resources.

The final city maps will also determine the districts where voters and elected officials will live as well as the its political representation for the next decade. The city’s redistricting commission said that there will be no gerrymandering, or discrimination on the basis of race, language and the voting strength of racial or ethnic groups. The commissioners said they will work hard to keep neighborhoods together, which has been a concern from local social justice activists.

How does redistricting work in the city of Dallas? 

Every 10 years, the city of Dallas redraws boundaries for its city council districts. Each member of the City Council appoints one member of the redistricting commission.

The 15-member Redistricting Commission is now developing a proposed plan for new districts using updated census data. During the process, City Council members may not have contact, directly or indirectly, with a redistricting commission member in order to prevent undue influence when redrawing the maps.

Dallas city council census results
Courtesy of City of Dallas
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The graphic shows all 14 districts in the city of Dallas and how they have changed in 10 years.

How is the city of Dallas working toward fair mapping? 

The Redistricting Commission said they want Dallasites to be actively involved in the remapping process. They hope to hold town halls to educate residents on how to get engaged and submit map visions.

“I just want to make sure that on the front end, we make it very clear to people during the public hearing process some of the fundamentals of what we are doing and what the requirements are," said Commissioner Diane Ragsdale.

The commission is also working to provide opportunities where Dallasites can provide input.

What is the timeline for the city’s redistricting process? 

In June, the Dallas city council members hired ARCBridge Consulting, Inc. to analyze the census results, assist with the redistricting and create a mapping tool software to help residents interact with possible maps.

At the beginning of October, the commission created a new redistricting plan that included hearing public input, developing and accepting map plans and approving a final map.

Throughout November, the commission will host town halls to gain in-depth knowledge and get feedback from Dallas residents. At a recent commission meeting, members proposed community colleges, recreation centers, libraries and City Hall as possible locations for these town halls.

A final district map should be implemented by May 2023.

Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report For America corps member for KERA News. Email Alejandra at amartinez@kera.org. You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @alereports.

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