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Commissioners Draw New Boundaries For JP And Constable Precincts

Bexar County

Bexar County commissioners voted to redraw the boundaries for the justice of the peace precincts prior to the next election. The administrative move is designed to simplify the boundaries and at the same time reduce court costs.

There have been four precincts for justice of the peace courts, and there are four Bexar County precincts each represented by a commissioner. But the boundaries of the two types of jurisdictions have not matched.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said there was an attempt by previous administrations to equalize the election process.

"There were 183,000 people living in Precinct 4 JP and 600,000 in Precinct 3 JP and that had originally been done to protect an African-American seat on the Eastside of San Antonio," Wolff said. "Well, that didn’t work. The African American did not get elected. The percentage in the commissioners precinct of African Americans is the same as the percentage in the smaller district, so we have not diluted the vote of any minority in those districts."

New justice of the peace precinct boundaries will correspond to the commissioners court precincts, which Wolff said have been approved as meeting voting rights standards. The redistricting will push two JPs into precincts in which they were not elected.

The sum of the administrative action is that two positions will become open before the next election, for which county commissioners must make appointments. Anyone wishing to be considered by the court must make an application through the county for the positions.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.