Redistricting Commission

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The holiday season will bring more than presents for Austinites. It will also bring maps outlining the boundaries for 10 City Council districts — if the grueling process of tweaking and finalizing the districts wraps up in time for Christmas. 

But the Independent Citizen's Redistricting Commission — the volunteer citizen group charged with drawing the maps — is accepting comments on its preliminary map during a regular meeting tonight and a public input meeting Wednesday.

Wells Dunbar/KUT News

Austin is in the preliminary stages of drawing the city’s first geographic city council districts. Although a volunteer-staffed redistricting commission will do the bulk of the work, the process will still cost money. Some cities, like San Diego, have gone through the process. It may help to peek at that city's expenses as an exercise that may give us a rough estimate of what Austin's final redistricting tab might be.

The City of Austin has established its new Citizen’s Redistricting Commission, a group of 14 citizens who will draw the city's first boundaries for city council districts.

In selecting candidates, city officials drew at random from a pool of qualified volunteers. Thursday night, the commissioners met to select candidates who would join them in the task of redistricting. 

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

For the first time, the City of Austin is adopting an electoral system that will assign council members to specific geographic regions of the city. The process of creating those boundaries is, of course, political, and a Republican consultant claimed the first eight people chosen to draw new council districts are overwhelmingly Democrats.

Derek Ryan Tweeted, "Seven are D primary voters, only one has voted in an R primary." Is that true? Gardner Selby with the Austin American-Statesman's fact-checking project, PolitiFact Texas, came by to tell us what they found out. You can listen to our conversation with the player above and read the fact-check online.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The city of Austin is one step closer to drawing new geographic district maps for the city council. Eight names were drawn yesterday at City Hall to serve on the city’s new redistricting commission, and they have already received their first assignment.

Jeff Heimsath/KUT News

This May, Austinites will learn the names of the people who will be drawing the city’s 10 new district maps, and then the redistricting process will start to take shape. After the maps are drawn, Austinites will learn the district boundaries. Then people interested in running for City Council will know which district they can represent. 

Seems like a lot of changes. And the biggest one is that the next Austin City Council is likely to be made up of rookies.

City of Austin

Earlier today, Austin's City Auditor held a public drawing today to select the three accountants that will serve on the 10-1 Applicant Review Panel. The three accountants are Martha Parker, Michelle DeFrance and Carolyn Limaye – all women.

The review panel will select the 60 most qualified applicants for potential service on Austin's Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. That's the group which will ultimately draw district lines for city council members. (Click here for an overview of the district-drawing process.)

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

Austin’s city auditor is practically begging more people to apply to be on the board that will draw the first geographic districts for the City Council. So far, fewer than 100 have applied, and they are overwhelmingly white and male.

It’s not the kind of wide participation proponents of the charter amendment that created district representation had in mind. But it’s similar to what happened in San Diego, a city that was just redistricted in 2011.

Wells Dunbar/KUT News

It may seem like government offices are in slow mode during the holiday season, but Austin's City Auditor is working against the clock. That's because there’s a very strict timeline the auditor needs to meet in order to put together the group that will draw Austin’s new city council district maps. 

The auditor is following the guidelines and timeline laid out in Proposition 3. That was the citizen-initiated charter amendment passed by Austin voters last month. But some of the terminology in Prop 3 needs to be tweaked into more official legal terms in some cases. In others, it just needs to be clarified. So, the City of Austin's Auditor, Kenneth Mory, is asking for citizen input.