Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Critical role of population centers in redistricting

After three active months working to find the best city council district map for the City of Dallas, the most valuable tool has been this map:
It is a map created following on the question from a Commissioner about creating a map with the most compact districts possible. Then it was taken one step further with the attempt to locate the 14 population centers in Dallas once Dallas is divided into 14 equal population districts.  These 14 locations are a mathematical and geographic calculation that would be identical using 2010 census numbers no matter who did the calculations, absent some mathematical error.

This is the ideal.  Any map will vary from this ideal for many reasons, probably the most significant of which would be the need to meet Voting Rights Act requirements. 

As I have made adjustments to districts I have often returned to this "population center map" to regain perspective.  The closer Dallas can come to these population centers actually also being the district population centers, the closer we will come to having districts that only require minimal changes decades into the future. Such population centering, combined with the elimination of gerrymandered appendages, will help create maps that will not require some unusual political story to go with them to explain unusual kinks or appendages 20 or 40 years from now.

Related to the Dallas Redistricting Commission, this week of July 18-22 is a week off with no meetings.  The 6 PM meetings will resume on Tuesday July 26th and continue every Tuesday and Thursday through August, or until a final map is selected for presentation to the City Council.   The data on the next 4 maps, to be presented on the 26th, should be on the City web site by Friday located at and available by clicking on Redistricting Plan Submissions for July 26th.

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