The county commissioners in my 3500+ population county have decided that they don't want to pay Allison, Bass $15,000 to handle our 2011 redistricting; they would far prefer that I do it for free(as county attorney). Have any of you ever done your own redistricting submissions? If so, please let me know if there is a good source for the necessary steps to be followed. Or, preferably, do any of you have any good horror stories about counties that tried to do redistricting themselves?
I don't have time to dig through my old notes, but I took a class devoted to redistricting and being sued if you redistrict improperly could result in a federal judge picking where the districts' lines lay and your county would have to foot the other side's legal fees. It is not a good idea for them to just assign this to you.
In addition to the potential for litigation, compliance with the Voting Rights Act generally requires preclearance of a redistricting arrangement from the U.S. Department of Justice. That creates its own set of traps for the meticulous, to say nothing of the unwary. We don't do it ourselves, and certainly wouldn't advise anyone without substantial expertise in that area to undertake the endeavor.
Posts: 1233 | Location: Amarillo, Texas, USA | Registered: March 15, 2001
In March, I attended the National Conference of State Legislature's National Redistricting Seminar in Austin. The keynote speaker was Tom Perez, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice. (That means he is the President's appointee over the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ...supervising the Voting Rights Section.) The message he delivered was that, in advance of redistricting, the Civil Rights Division has been given "unprecedented new levels of funding" and is currently hiring an additional 102 attorneys. He described the mandate of the Civil Rights Division as being one of "restoration and transformation." As an aside, almost every example of "bad redistricting" discussed during this national conference used Texas as the example. The bottom line: this is not the time to save some money by doing things "in-house." Hire the best experts and consultants you can find, don't cut any corners, document your process, and plan on questions from DOJ and the very real prospect of litigation.
Posts: 188 | Location: Lubbock, Texas USA | Registered: October 04, 2002