Henderson County officials can only play the guessing game when it comes to whether or not new boundaries have to be drawn for subdivisions during the next round of redistricting.
United States Census data has been delayed until September, or perhaps even October. It has to be released before the other pins begin to fall.
“This is the third redistricting that I’ve been a part of and by now, we’re normally well into the process,” County Judge Wade McKinney said.
A Special Legislative Session for redistricting is expected in October. In a normal year, filing for county offices would begin in November and conclude in December. If any lines have to be redrawn that might be too soon for election officials to get ready.
“Our primaries may be delayed as they have been a couple of times before,” McKinney said. “Instead of March, they could be in May. It’s kind of a wait and see.”
Population estimates indicate overall growth in Henderson County has slowed during the past decade, but figures from the Texas Demographer’s website show some areas have been growing faster than others.
“Once again, it’s the northern half of the county on either end, Chandler, Mabank and Gun Barrel, where it appears the major growth has occurred in population,” McKinney said.
Texas election law requires the districts be relatively equal in population and drawn in a manner that does not abridge the right to vote on the basis of “race, color or language group.”
The county contracts with to Allison Bass & Associates to do much of the preliminary work on the redistricting process. The county pays $35,000 for the service.
The company also assisted the county during 2010 redistricting process, which spilled over into 2011. The primaries for 2012 were delayed until May 29.
The county made a significant change that year, eliminating Justice of the Peace Precinct 6. A change on the state level had a large effect on Henderson County was the reshaping of Texas House of Representatives District 4, which sent the western side of the county to District 10.