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Minor tweaks to interim county map approved

Barring anything strange, we should have a final county map for the 2012 election.

A federal judge has granted several small changes Harris County requested to an interim redistricting map produced as part of a lawsuit Latino activists filed against the county’s adopted map.

According to an email from First Assistant County Attorney Terry O’Rourke, U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore signed an order Wednesday, splitting one voting precinct near T.C. Jester at the Beltway between Commissioner Precinct 1 and Precinct 4. Gilmore also accepted the county’s request to return a voting precinct near Clay Road and Highway 6 to Commissioner Precinct 3 from Precinct 4.

The effect of these changes is to keep two important facilities — including office space and road maintenance equipment — in the commissioner precincts they were built to service.

Thanks to the judge’s changes, Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle regains his central administration office and largest road camp, and Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack also regains his largest road camp.

The plaintiffs did not object to these tweaks, as they did not affect Precinct 2 in a material way. At this point, the Justice Department still needs to weigh in on preclearance, and the lawsuit needs to be resolved. I presume that these issues will not be settled until 2013. It’s possible the county could reach an agreement with the plaintiffs, but I suspect the matter will go to trial instead.

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  1. Mainstream says:

    If I understand correctly, in the DC preclearance lawsuit for the Texas congressional maps, the DOJ and plaintiffs are making the claim that once a judicial plan is used for an election, it becomes the benchmark from which retrogression must be determined for a future plan. If this proves to be correct law, then the County Commissioners will be barred from using their original plan for Commissioner Moorman’s district, or any other plan which has Hispanic levels lower than that district in this interim court plan, even though no election is being held in that district this election cycle.

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