Saturday, September 18, 2021

Presentation to Texas House Redistricting Committee

 9/18/21 11:00 AM Presentation (It actually happened about 3:45 PM as I was # 44 in a list of 96 speakers listed to give 3-minute presentations.  We were mixed about equally with in-person presenters in Austin.)

I am Bill Betzen from Hereford & House District 86, but I have lived in Dallas Dist. 111 for the past 46 years. I want to send greetings to my Representative Yvonne Davis. I am a retired Computer Applications and Social Studies teacher speaking for myself. To date, I am against the lack of public involvement & transparency in this Texas Redistricting Process.

I was involved in the 2011 redistricting process. I ultimately developed a report on each of the three completed new maps for the Texas House, Senate, and the new Congressional map. I hope you have each received a copy of these one-page reports and have them before you. (See below.) If you google "Bill Betzen blog", you will find my blog where they are posted with today’s testimony.

The methods are the same in each report. It requires the demographics from each district given in two numbers, the White-non-Hispanic percentage, which I will call White from now on, and the Minority percentage. This list is ordered in a spreadsheet from the lowest White percentage district to the highest White Percentage District. A very telling pattern is immediately exposed!

But first, let’s talk about the value of votes. If you want your group to win most of the 150 seats, then you want to use their votes as efficiently as possible. That means you want just enough votes in each district to win as many districts as possible with as few votes as possible used in each district. Consequently, districts with your group in the percentages just over 50%, but not too far above 70% so as to “waste” votes, is what you want. Consequently, districts with percentages from 50% up through 70%, and sometimes as high as 75%, use votes most efficiently.

You want to avoid districts that waste your group's votes. Thus, you do not want districts wherein your group falls into the 25% to 50% range and potentially “wastes” votes in lost elections. An abundance of such districts in a redistricting map, such as happened repeatedly to Texas Minority voters in 2011, is called cracking. You also want to avoid districts with your group’s percentages falling over 75%, called packing. Yes, you win them, but you have overkill. You have wasted votes that could have been used to win more districts. This happened repeatedly to Minority voters with the gerrymandered 2011 maps.

The three reports before you document gerrymandering patterns in 2011. Just look at the House Report. The high-value district percentages from 50% to 75% were not evenly distributed. The Texas Minority communities enjoyed these percentages in only 31 districts. White communities enjoyed such "maximum efficiency" in 70 districts with such 50% to 75% percentages.

On the other side, the packed districts that waste the most votes were disproportionately Minority districts! There was only one district with a White percentage of 85% or above while there were 17 such minority districts!  

These patterns must not repeat in 2021!

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