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How Does Redistricting Work In Texas And Why Does It Matter?

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A map shows the locations of the U.S. Census Bureau's regional offices for the 2020 census.
A map shows the locations of the U.S. Census Bureau's regional offices for the 2020 census.

Every 10 years, states are tasked with the redrawing of legislative and congressional districts, using demographic data to determine new electoral district boundaries.

How maps are drawn maps can influence election outcomes, the distribution of political power, which communities are represented and which laws are ultimately passed.

Like many things in 2020, the pandemic has significantly delayed the arrival of new U.S. Census numbers that will allow for an updated understanding of the breakdown of and changes to Texas' population over the past decade.

What's the expected timeline for 2020 Census data, and how could that data affect the electoral maps in San Antonio and Texas?

How does redistricting work? Who's in charge and how transparent is the process? Who does it most affect?

What is the history of map-drawing in Texas? What legal challenges have there been related to gerrymandering and fair representation?

What are the key factors at play for redistricting in 2021? What are the broader implications of map-drawing outcomes?

Guests:

  • Michael Li, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law and a leading expert on redistricting and gerrymandering
  • Mark P. Jones, political science professor and fellow at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University
  • Joaquin Gonzalez, voting rights attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, March 24.