Top Story No. 2: Redistricting problems

(Editor’s Note: Henderson County Now will be counting down the Top 5 stories of 2012, with one story each day starting Friday, Dec. 28 and ending Tuesday, Jan. 1. … No. 5 – Changes to Ag Child Labor Laws Dropped … No. 4 – West Nile Hits County … No. 3 – Nativity Scene Controversy.)

Who knew it would be so hard to count and organize?

In 2011, the Texas Legislature went through the once-every-10-years process of redistricting — the redrawing of governmental subdivisions (like House and Senate districts) based on census data.

The driving principle behind the exercise is the idea that districts need to be of similar size to be truly representative.

Of course, the meaning of “representative” is sometimes up for grabs when it comes to politics, and in 2012 redistricting went to court. Multiple courts, actually.

The upshot for the average Texan was that the primary election was pushed back .. and back and back … all the way to May 29.

Locally, it meant officials were conducting elections almost continually from April 30 to July 31. Those included municipal and school elections, the primary, and a couple of primary runoff elections.

And as if that didn’t cause enough problems, Henderson County officials also had to deal with its own redistricting plus the Legislature split the county into two House districts for the first time.

For Elections Administrator Denise Hernandez, that meant reducing the number of voting boxes from 31 to 27. Also, officials had to shuffle voters around Cedar Creek Lake into either House District 10 or House District 4.

The split by the state caused plenty of confusion for voters, particularly in the Malakoff and Cross Roads area, where commissioners had to move some folks out of Box 1MN (Malakoff) into 1CR (Cross Roads).

“This is a direct effect of splitting Henderson County,” said Pct. 1 Commissioner Joe Hall. “I am frustrated to no end. This is not a good scenario, but there is no perfect scenario.”