Why Do We Have Districts?
Before1976, the city of San Antonio voted for a 5-member board. The person with the largest total served as mayor. The other top 4 served as council members. This was against the voting rights act of 1965 because all 5 members might have been from the north side of San Antonio and there wouldn't be equal representation throughout the city. An amendment to the city charter was then added so that the city would comply with the voting rights act of 1965. In 1976, the 10-districts were created. Each member is voted on per district and a mayor is voted on by the city at large. The redistricting occurs 2 years after a 10 year census is completed. The first redistricting occurred in 1982, 2 years after the 1980 census. However, if the minority representation is reduced, the annexed land may be split up by the council.
What is minority
Minority representation is the percentage of registered minority voters within the districts.
What happens if the
minority representation is reduced?
You can not reduce minority representation, you can only raise it. You must comply with the Department of Justice's laws. If you reduce representation, it must be cleared by the Justice Department. Reducing representation is called retrogress. With the next census, a problem exists because if you redistrict and retrogress, the justice department can sue and force you to redraw the lines. One possible solution is to add more districts in order to keep the minority representation intact. If the city voters choose not to add a districts, and the minority representation is to put in jeopardy, the justice department can sue us and the federal courts will throw out the elections and force the city leaders to add the districts.
Information courtesy of Mr. Jesus Garza, Planning Manager, City of San Antonio. Interview January 31, 2001