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City to resume redistricting meetings for future voting boundaries; public encouraged to participate

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The City of El Paso’s Districting Commission will hold its first meeting of the year on Wednesday at City Hall.

The effort is part of the process to establish new voting districts for city representatives that will stay in place for the next decade.

Voting boundaries for elected officials at the local, state and federal level are redrawn every 10 years following the release of decennial U.S. Census data. The new boundaries for the eight city representative districts will be redrawn to reflect changes in the city’s population.

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The population of the city of El Paso in 2020 was 678,815, according to data released in August. The figure represents a 5% increase over the prior census in 2010.

But the growth was heavily concentrated in East, Northwest and Northeast El Paso. Five of the eight districts saw population declines between 2010 and 2020.

The population of City Council District 5 grew by 47%, by far the largest growth of any district.

When the current Council Districts were created in 2011, their populations were roughly equal. A decade later, that’s not the case, which is why political districts are redrawn after every U.S. Census. (Illustration courtesy of City of El Paso)

City officials are urging the community to participate in the redistricting process.

The city has information for the redistricting process on its Shape EP website, which includes details about the process, the current City Council district boundaries, map proposals and a link to Dave’s Redistricting — a site to create district boundary recommendations for the commission to consider.

Eight map proposals have been submitted for consideration. The maps were drawn by commission members Martin Bartlett, Isabel Carrillo, Christopher Villa and Robert Burns. Members of the public including the League of Women Voters and Johnny Ruffier have also submitted maps.

Some of the key changes for the proposed maps include compacting District 1 on the West Side, retaining most of District 2 in the West-Central area, reducing portions of District 4 in Northeast El Paso and moving District 3 to south of Interstate 10.

The commissioners will use the census data and public input from map proposals to decide how to draw the new district boundaries to reflect El Paso’s population changes.

A final map proposal will be presented to the City Council in April. The City Council is expected to adopt a final map in July 2022.

The first election using the new district maps will be in November, when representatives for District 1, 5, 6 and 8 will be elected.

Get involved:

Where: The City Redistricting Commission will be meeting at 4 p.m. Wednesday at 300 N. Campbell St. in City Council Chambers. Public comment will be at 5 p.m.

Virtually: Call (915) 213-4096; enter 207 028 620#

Watch online via the city’s website, or the city’s YouTube channel.

Masks are strongly recommended for attending the meeting in person.

To see information about the redistricting process visit ElPasoTexas.gov/ShapeEP.

Cover illustration: The population changes in current City Council districts between 2010 and 2020, according to City of El Paso analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. (Robert Moore/El Paso Matters)

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Elida S. Perez

Elida S. Perez is a longtime community and investigative reporter. Her experience includes work as city government watchdog reporter for the El Paso Times, investigative reporter for El Paso Newspaper Tree and communities reporter with the Salem, Oregon, Statesman Journal.

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