SELMA – The process of moving to district elections for Selma’s City Council continues with the posting of draft maps on the City’s website.
Of the 11 that have been proposed, however, only the three created by the professional demographers are drawn in such a way as to have equal population in each of the districts. The goal is to have 4,744 residents in each district. The way the districts are proposed, all sitting council members would still be eligible to remain on the council, despite the fact they all live in the northeast portion of town.
They would have Councilmembers Jim Avalos, Louis Franco and Scott Robertson come up for election in the 2020 race and John Trujillo and Sarah Guerra up for election in the 2022 race.
For all future City Council elections, only the residents living in each district would vote for a candidate who also must reside in their district.
The public is now invited to give input before, or at, the Sept. 3 and Sept. 16 Council meetings. These meetings take place at City Hall, 1710 Tucker St.
A post on the City’s website at http://www.cityofselma.com/by_district_elections/timeline.htm reads:
“What do you think of the Draft Maps?
Now that they are posted, the Council wants to hear what you like and dislike about each.
The Council wants to know not just which map(s) you like or dislike, but why you feel that way about each map. These are the first drafts, not necessarily the final maps, and future versions can include revisions aimed at addressing the concerns raised by residents.
Please take the time to look at them and share your thoughts, either before or at one of the upcoming Council hearings that are listed above.
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And, as a reminder, you can still draw your own revisions to any of the posted Draft Maps.
The demographic profiles for each map are located in the demographic summary table below.”
National Demographics has been hired to lead the City through the districting process.
Demographer Shalice Tilton spoke at a recent City Council meeting explaining that districts will be decided based on 2010 Census data and then reconfigured once the 2020 Census data is released.
Tilton said such factors as housing status, immigration status, languages spoken at home, education level, average age and previous voter turnout will be considered as the districts are drawn up.
Each of the five districts must contain approximately 4,744 people. That number should deviate only by 10 percent.
Tilton said race can be one factor in deciding districts, but not the predominant one. Instead, districts need to be based on communities of interest as determined by such factors as school attendance areas, major streets, or areas of town with a particular interest - such as the Downtown area.
Another factor will be the number of people living in a district that are old enough to vote. Courts will look at the voting age category to determine the strength of each district and make sure the Council is “not diluting the voting strength of your protected class groups,” she said. “Protected class groups, in this case, are based on minority language.”
Here’s what happens next:
- Sept. 3 and Sept. 16: Maps discussed, revised and election sequencing discussed.
- Sept. 30: Final map posted seven days prior to its adoption.
- Oct. 7: The final hearing and map adoption.
- 2020, 2021: Census taken and once new data is released, districts will be adjusted accordingly.