The State of Texas will gain two House Seats and two more Electoral College votes according to the Census.
Every ten years the United States embarks on a journey to find out an estimated population for the nation. In 2020 the US Census Bureau (CB) did just that and they did it during a pandemic. Typically the Census would have already been made available to the country in February, however due to COVID-19 issues it was delayed till Monday April 26, 2021. In the 2020 Census there will be some changes coming to Texas, Terry County, and Brownfield.
Although according to the CB we now know Texas gained almost 4 million people since 2010 which will give Texas two new or extra US House of Representatives. Also with two more representatives comes two extra Electoral College votes for Texas. Each state has has an allotted amount of Electoral College votes based on the amount of US House Representatives (congressional districts) that are in a state, plus the two US Senators that each state has. For example, Texas currently has 36 US congressional districts and two US senators which gave Texas 38 electoral votes in the three US Presidential Elections from 2010 to 2020. (2012, 2016, & 2020). Now according to the CB Texas will add the two extra congressional districts and have 40 electoral votes for the Presidential Elections in 2024 and 2028.
Since the announcement of the 331,449,281 citizens who share the United State of America, there has not been much said from state and local leaders. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has yet to put out a press release and the same with the Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. TownTalk has reached out to Terry County Judge JD Wagner and he said, “Since the counties have not received the official census report, there is not much that can be done.” Both Terry County and the City of Brownfield’s population is expected to dip between 300 to 400 people. If this is the case, then since the height of Brownfield’s population in 1980 which was 10,387 there will be a 10% decline in population in the past 40 years.
Even though the county and city leaders do not know the final census results, there is still a possibility the county precincts, Brownfield ISD school board district’s, & the City of Brownfield’s Council districts can be shifted. According to the Texas Comptroller’s office each precinct and district should must meet two basic criteria set forth in the federal Constitution and laws which is the population equal or near-equal populations and preservation of the right to vote regardless of race, color or language. The controlling standard is “one person, one vote.” For example in BISD’s representing districts they vary. In BISD-1 there are 915 registered voters, in BISD-2 811, in BISD-3 1228, in BISD-4 1224, and BISD-5 1032. These are registered voters, not the whole population within the districts. Some people who reside in a district may not be registered to vote due to being under 18, maybe a felon, or simply they just don’t want to be registered to vote. But the plan is for the counties, cities and other municipalities to try to equal the same amount of population and demographics within the districts.
Other voting districts can also be changed to do population shifts. Even though Texas gained two more congressional seats, the population in the western side of the state could have declined enough that one of the four congressional seats that represent the Amarillo, Abilene, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, San Angelo, Wichita Falls and far southwest Texas areas will be lost to fill a more populated area. Again, there has not been a press release from US Dist. 19 Congressman Jodey Arrington (Lubbock, Brownfield, Plainview, Abilene), US Dist. 13 Congressman Ronny Jackson (Amarillo, Panhandle of Texas, Wichita Falls), US Dist. 11 Congressman August Pfluger II (Midland/Odessa, San Angelo, Brownwood) and US Dist. 23 Congressman Ernest Gonzales (Pecos, Ft Stockton, Eagle Pass, Uvalde, outskirts of San Antonio) on this subject.
Texas State District Courts, State Senate Districts, State House Districts, and the State Board of Education can all also shift district lines due to population decrease or increase. Texas Gov. Abbott will most likely have to call a special legislative session to redistrict the state. The US Constitution leaves the redistricting of congressional redistricting up to the state legislatures.