The Tyler City Council on Wednesday heard an initial assessment of information related to council redistricting and approved criteria for the process.
Philip Arnold, attorney with consultant Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta, talked through the assessment with council members.
The assessment of the 2020 Census shows Tyler has 105,917 residents, making the ideal population for each district 17,653, according to Arnold. However, there is a 10% deviation allowed.
District 3 is the smallest with a population of 16,223, while District 5 is the largest with a population of 19,243, making the total deviation 17%. These numbers show that the city had uneven population growth.
Arnold said there are several things to consider when going through this process. These include the “one person, one vote” principle; Voting Rights Act Section 3 (nondiscrimination); Shaw V. Reno (limits the use of race); and the use of Voting Rights Section 5 (preventing retrogression) as a diagnostic tool.
With these points in mind, the city adopted criteria Wednesday for the development of new district plans. This criteria includes identifiable boundaries; maintaining communities of interest and neighborhoods together; using whole voting precincts if possible; basing plans on existing districts; drawing compact and contiguous districts; and keeping existing incumbents in their district and narrowly tailoring plans to comply with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The redrawing of districts will be done in a public meeting so residents can offer input, according to the city.
“This is going to be a totally open and transparent process,” Mayor Don Warren said. “We’ll go through it and work through it together.”
All information about the redistricting process can be found at www.cityoftyler.org .
Public participation times during the redistricting process are:
Public hearing on the first draft at 9 a.m. Oct. 27 and Nov. 10 during the regular council meeting at City Hall, 212 N. Bonner Ave;
Public comment session 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at Glass Recreation Center, 501 W. 32nd St.;
Public comment session 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 4 at Tyler Police south station, 574 W. Cumberland Road; and
Date of adoption and final districting plan at 9 a.m. Dec. 8 during the regular council meeting at City Hall, 212 N. Bonner Ave.