The Buffalo Soldier Gate at Fort Bliss. (Corrie Boudreaux/El Paso Matters)

The El Paso County Commissioners Court adopted a new election map for the four commissioner precincts on Monday, concluding a months-long process to reestablish boundaries based on decennial U.S. census data.

The map that was unanimously adopted Monday by county commissioners gives each precinct approximately 216,000 residents. Key changes to precincts include Fort Bliss being added to Precinct 1, represented by Carlos Leon. Fort Bliss was previously in Precinct 2, represented by David Stout.

Leon said he is happy with the changes to his precinct, which also include portions of Montana Vista just outside the city limits.

“We’ve been able to get (the Square Dance neighborhood in Far East El Paso) lighting, paving, new signage and we’re working right now for them to start getting gas instead of having to rely on propane and we’ve gotten to work with them to get wastewater services,” Leon said. “It’s changed over the last several years and I’m so proud to have been part of that change.”

Stout said other key changes to his precinct include adding additional portions of the West and East El Paso, which makes the precinct more compact.

“I think this bodes well for voters, because it keeps communities of interest together and allows those important voting blocs to be together. So I’m really happy with the way things were undertaken and the work that was done,” he said.

Leon’s precinct, which spanned most of the East Side, now includes a large portion of Northeast El Paso including Fort Bliss.

The current El Paso County Commissioners Court precincts at left and the new precincts at right, which will be in place for the 2022 election. (Photo Illustration/Angela Saavedra)

Voting boundaries for elected officials at the local, state and federal level are redrawn every 10 years following the release of U.S. Census data.

El Paso County’s population in 2020 was 865,657, according to data released in August. The figure represents an 8% increase since 2010 — the county’s slowest period of growth since the Great Depression.

The El Paso County Commissioners Court voted to establish an El Paso County Redistricting Advisory Commission in March to develop the map recommendations.

Nine maps were reviewed and two were submitted to the court for consideration. The adopted map was drawn by redistricting advisory member Inocente Quintanilla, a former state representative, county officials said. Quintanilla ran unsuccessfully for Commissioners Court Precinct 3 in 2012.

Stout, who spearheaded the establishment of the advisory commission, said he was happy with the process.

“The main purpose, of course, was to try to get away from gerrymandering, and get away from partisan or political influences in the drawing of the maps,” Stout said.

Leon said he is proud of the work the advisory commission did and that the commissioners court was in sync with the decision-making process.

“We did not go back and say, well, I want to move this area back to this precinct and I want to move that one over here. We left it (the map) as they recommended. So it wasn’t politically motivated in any way,” Leon said.

Commissioner Precinct 3, held by Iliana Holguin, which covers portions of the Lower Valley, lost some precincts in Northeast El Paso.

Commissioner Precinct 4, held by Carl Robinson, which covers portions of Northwest and Northeast El Paso, gained portions of Northeast and West El Paso.

The new precincts take effect with the 2022 election, when the Precincts 2 and 4 positions will be up for a vote. Precincts 1 and 3 will next go before voters in 2024. 

Cover photo: Fort Bliss will move from county Precinct 2 to Precinct 1 under newly drawn boundaries. (Corrie Boudreaux/El Paso Matters)

Elida S. Perez is a senior reporter for El Paso Matters. Her experience includes work as city government watchdog reporter for the El Paso Times, investigative reporter for El Paso Newspaper Tree and communities...