Redistricting expert cautions city auditor on 10-1 boundaries deadline
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A leading redistricting expert wants Austin's auditor to err on the side of caution when it comes to drafting the 10 new, single-member districts.
Austin City Auditor Kenneth Mory's office will help piece together a three-member Applicant Review Panel and a 14-member Citizens Redistricting Commission. He held a meeting with the public Tuesday to get the grass roots selection process started.
With 40 years of redistricting experience under his belt, retired University of Texas law professor Steve Bickerstaff says there's still plenty of work left to be done.
"The auditor should be commended for these first steps," Bickerstaff said. "The one thing that I am concerned about is this process needs to be finished and enacted by next summer."
Right now, the auditor's plan is to have the commission finish the maps by April 2014.
"We have a proposed timeline at this point but anything we can do to up that, we will," Mory said.
Bickerstaff and others are concerned current deadlines work against anyone interested in running for council come election season November 2014.
"There are campaign filings that need to be done by April, and to us that is clearly not enough time for the Department of Justice process," he said.
Following district map completion, the DOJ has 60 days to review the process. Local experts prefer giving the draft to the feds four months earlier-- in January 2014.
"You can't spend too much at the first of the process because the back end of the process is messed up," Bickerstaff said.
The auditor told YNN he is listening to the 10-1 advocates' concerns, and isn't ruling out changes, but for now, current timelines will stay in place.
Public forums are expected to last through March.