Redistricting in Texas delayed by late Census data

by | Jan 27, 2021 | Policy, Redistricting

A Census Bureau official on Wednesday announced that data used to apportion seats and draw state and federal district lines has been delayed.

The delivery of apportionment data, which determines how many House seats Texas will gain, has been delayed until April 30. It was supposed to arrive at the end of last year but that deadline was missed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Likewise, redistricting data that was supposed to be delivered to lawmakers no later than April 1 has been delayed until at least July 30.

The delay is bad news for Texas. Historically, the Lone Star State is among the first states to receive the data because of its short window to act on redistricting.

The Texas Legislature typically has about two months to draw and adopt new district lines before the end of the regular session in May. Redistricting bills are filed along with other bills in the legislature.

Not only do Texas lawmakers not know how many House seats the state will gain, but they will also have no data to begin formulating or drawing new maps.

If lawmakers don’t create congressional maps during the regular session, a special session will have to be called to avoid a state or federal district court from issuing court-ordered plans. If state district lines aren’t passed during the regular session, the responsibility will fall to the Legislative Redistricting Board, currently composed of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Comptroller Glenn Hegar, and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush. 

Photo: Bill Oxford/Getty Images

fernando@texassignal.com | + posts

Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at fernando@texassignal.com

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