SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – The Smith County Commissioner’s Court is holding its second redistricting workshop on Tuesday, Oct. 26, since no action was taken during the first workshop on Oct. 19.
The 2020 census has shown that Smith County’s population grew by more than 11% over the last decade.
The data shows that Smith County grew from 209,714 people in 2010, to 233,479 people in 2020.
In accordance with the 14th Amendment, the county must draw new precinct lines to ensure that every person’s vote counts equally. In order to remain in compliance, the most and least populous precincts must have a difference of no more than 10%.
Precinct 1 currently has the largest population, with 64,780, residents and precinct 4 has the smallest, with 52,238 residents. This makes precinct 1 overpopulated by 11% and precinct 4 underpopulated by 10.5%.
The first potential change discussed by Commissioners was an adjustment to the lines between Precincts 1 and 4. This would result in Precinct 1 giving up to three voting precincts to Precinct 4, which have a combined population of 8,470 people and span from Lake Placid Road in Flint to the Tyler Airport on U.S. Highway 64 West.
“The idea is to have as close to equal population as possible,” said Phil Arnold, an attorney with Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta, LLP, of Austin.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Neal Franklin said the plan made the most sense, but that he would like to consider it further and talk to his constituents about it in the coming weeks.
Other options for redistricting have been proposed by Commissioners as well, such as slight changes between Precinct 2 and Precinct 3. In three different presented scenarios, Precinct 3, which currently has 61,259 people, would give some of its territory to Precinct 2, which has a current population of 55,202 people.
The Commissioners Court, located at 200 E. Ferguson St., will hold their second redistricting workshop at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday Oct. 26 to consider the current propositions, as well as new alternatives. The court is likely vote on the new redistricting plan on Nov. 2, unless additional meetings or time for consideration are needed.
If you would like to voice your opinion on Smith County redistricting, forms are available on the county’s redistricting page on the website.