Fort Worth leadership is in the process of expanding the city’s current eight districts to 10. The redistricting was approved by voters in 2016 and will rely on new data from the 2020 Census. Although Mayor Betsy Price and city councilmembers adopted the Race and Culture Task Force’s recommendation for an independent redistricting commission (which relies on locals rather than councilmembers to draw district maps) two years ago, the city is using an 11-member redistricting task force to draft recommendations on how to proceed with creating the new electoral boundaries. Fort Worth city council quickly refected the idea of an IRC. The task force will present its final recommendations to city council in March.
The size and location of Fort Worth’s councilmember districts largely determine who is elected to represent those parts of Fort Worth and how public resources are allotted. Allowing councilmembers to draw their own electoral maps potentially allows councilmembers to serve their own interests instead of the public good, critics of the current system say.
Bruce Miller and Byrwec Ellison with the civic-minded group Citizens for Independent Redistricting Fort Worth have taken on the task of raising awareness of the city’s backpedaling while advocating for a truly independent redistricting process. Ellison and Miller joined us via Zoom to chat about the city’s past redistricting efforts and the merits of an independent redistricting commission. You can learn more about their group at CitizensMapFW.org.