Not sure why this story is just getting printed today, but it's about another no-name casualty of redistricting out in West Texas.
SONORA -- To folks in this hamlet on the western edge of the Texas Hill Country, redistricting seemed an issue for cities such as Houston, Dallas or San Antonio.
That was until state lawmakers divided Sutton County between two U.S. congressmen, splitting a place where natural gas fuels the economy and where hunters fill the main drag each autumn.
"It's an absolute absurdity," said John Tedford, the Republican party chairman for Sutton County. "With just 3,000 people here, it's just absurd."
The Sutton County split was a last-minute move during a series of marathon map-drawing sessions as Republicans sought a compromise over the shape of a West Texas district.
State Sen. Todd Staples, R-Palestine, a lead map-drawer, said dividing Sonora was an unavoidable consequence of the requirement that the congressional district contain exactly 651,619 residents, with no deviation. Districts are federally required to be evenly divided according to census figures.
"Realistically, it could have been one of a hundred different towns where the boundary eventually stopped," Staples said. "In this instance, it just happened to be in Sutton County."
Staples said the split was probably drawn "in the wee hours of the morning, as we analyzed the map." He said Sutton County was not a political target.
What are the practical effects to the residents in Sonora?
Sutton County must pay to bring all four precincts in line with the new congressional districts before the March primary, a job that will cost the county an estimated $1,500, said Sutton County Clerk Veronica "Betty" Hernandez.
"If it was up to me, I wish it would remain the same. But we have to change according to the new lines now," Hernandez said.
Sutton and other counties with new boundaries must scramble to meet an array of election filing and ballot deadlines. Counties need time to print ballots, mail new voter registration cards and alert voters of new polling places.
"Once you add in everything, we're looking at at least $5,000," said Sutton County Judge Carla Garner, a Democrat. "That's a considerable amount we didn't budget for."
They'll likely use money earmarked from a local improvement project, Garner said.
Speaking of the courts, in addition to a ruling by the US District Court in Marshall about the DeLay/Barton subpoena, the Colorado Supreme Court will rule on the legality of that state's unprecedented re-redistricting effort on Monday. Next week ought to be very interesting.
UPDATE: Beldar thinks that DeLay will be compelled to testify, and that it will be more of an opportunity than a threat for the GOP. This is really a response to an earlier post, but I'm putting it here so it won't get overlooked.Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 29, 2003 to Killer D's | TrackBack