Fort Worth residents learned how to make their own council district maps using online redistricting software at a training session led by the City of Fort Worth Tuesday.
Dana Burghdoff, deputy director of planning and development, led the meeting by explaining redistricting and showing residents how to use the online redistricting software.
According to the 2010 Census, Fort Worth population has grown by 38.6 percent since 2000, growing from 534,694 in 2000 to 741,206 in 2010. Some districts received more of that population growth than others. This means now council districts are uneven.
So the city will have even council districts, the Fort Worth City Council is redistricting the city for the May 2013 election. Residents can help by submitting maps of possible redistricting plans.
The criteria to take into consideration when redistricting, includes population, the Voting Rights Act, and compactness. The online redistricting software provides all the necessary information for creating a good map, including population, current districts lines, and demographic data.
Residents can access the software through the redistricting website. Users need an email address and Adobe Flash Player to create an account. After that, the program leads users through a step by step process—learn, create, revise, share, and submit.
The program allows users to change districts sizes and shapes to meet the criteria. Finishing a map to meet the criteria can take hours Burghdoff said.
After creating a map, users can choose to revise it or go straight to the share step. If residents want their proposed map to be considered in the redistricting process, they must submit them to the city council by March 30.
The city staff will review the plans and submit to the city council for approval in April. After a plan is approved, the final map will be sent to the U.S. Justice Department for revision in May.
For a tutorial on using the redistricting software, residents can contact the city council to set up a workshop. To receive more information about redistricting, residents can visit the city website