Letters: Did the county do the right thing?

Posted by : Press release | On : March 16, 2012

Dear Editor,
The new buzz word “redistricting” has been the blame or credit for many things these past few months. Every 10 years, after the census is taken, states and counties draw new political districts and precincts based on the population growth and shifts. This process must comply with rules, regulations, and the law to assure there is no disparity of numbers in these districts and precincts.
However, consolidation of election precincts and relocation of polling places in Henderson County had more to do with suitable accommodations for voters and ADA access than anything else. The Henderson County redistricting study did bring out that there was disparity in the commissioner court precincts and a need to achieve better representation in the JP precincts. Now, there seems to be a need to clarify, “was the minority vote diluted when the commissioners combined Precincts 4 and 4A, and 4F and 4P.” The answer is “NO”!
By combining 4 and 4A, the block of Hispanic voters increased from 215 to 538 and the African American numbers increased from 166 to 394. By combining 4P and 4F, African American voters increased from 50 to 61, Hispanic voters increased from 3 to 15. Not only did the combining not dilute the minority strength, it provided a place to vote that had restrooms, running water, safe entrance (previously plywood had to be laid down so people would not have to walk in the mud and in 4F there were no restrooms or running water). The best decision was made for the welfare of voters and tax payers as well as supported the minority vote.
On the ethnic analysis side, the minority content of Commissioners Precinct 3, the precinct with the most minority content, was virtually unchanged with a change from 8.78% black to 8.79% and from 12.02% to 12.11% Hispanic.
The choices made were intended to make the elections more efficient to administer, and to increase voter participation by moving the voters to more accessible, safe and comfortable voting locations for both the voter and those who conduct elections. When we could close a less than up to standard voting location and provide safer locations with restrooms, adequate parking and wheelchair entrances, I would say the commissioners we elected were looking out for all voters and taxpayers. Saving money and providing a better place to vote was the result.
Betty Holland
County Chair
Republican Party of Henderson County