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Citizens Weigh in on District Maps That Will Shape the Face of Austin City Council

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News
A city employee during a lottery to decide members of the Independent Citizen's Redistricting Commission.

The holiday season will bring more than presents for Austinites. It will also bring maps outlining the boundaries for 10 City Council districts — if the grueling process of tweaking and finalizing the districts wraps up in time for Christmas. 

But the Independent Citizen's Redistricting Commission — the volunteer citizen group charged with drawing the maps — is accepting comments on its preliminary map during a regular meeting tonight and a public input meeting Wednesday.

After some question over the fairnessof the planning process, the city seeks to make the process to be as open as possible. And, while the public meetings will go a long way to reflect the will of Austin voters, political consultant and former state representative Glen Maxey says the board's required consensus will also make it difficult to redistrict for any political gains.

"It really is a free for all. It's done in public. It's done by a commission that can't really have private meetings," Maxey says. "You have to do it in a public hearing. It's a conundrum for people that are trying to draw lines for their own political advantage." 

The final map is expected to be used for the November 2014 elections.

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Texas Standard reporter Joy Diaz has amassed a lengthy and highly recognized body of work in public media reporting. Prior to joining Texas Standard, Joy was a reporter with Austin NPR station KUT on and off since 2005. There, she covered city news and politics, education, healthcare and immigration.
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