Possibly the most important piece of business that the state legislature will address when it convenes in January is redistricting since the decennial census results will be distributed early next year. If the election results have been good to Democrats in the state house, 2021 will be the first opportunity Democrats have had in more than 20 years to have some say in how state senate, state house, and congressional districts are drawn and, more importantly, the process that draws those districts.

Once each state has been allocated its congressional seats, state legislatures or other state-based bodies are required to draw lines for each congressional district, which are required to contain the same number of residents in each district plus or minus a small percentage. Notice I said residents, not voters or citizens. The constitution says in Article I, section 2, clause 3, “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed.” As the population of Texas has grown substantially over the last decade while some states have been stagnant or seen declines, we’re likely to gain three more congressional districts.

JC Dufresne is a liberal activist and current member of the State Democratic Executive Committee, representing Senate District 25

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