Redistricting commission completes preliminary map including student district

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This preliminary map displays Austin's single-member city council districts. District 9 is a University-centric district.

Photo Credit: The City of Austin | Daily Texan Staff

The redistricting commission charged with creating Austin’s new single-member districts finished drawing a preliminary city council district map, which included one University-centric district, on Saturday.

The student district will include mostly students and other young people between the ages of 18 and 24, Ryan Rafols, a psychology sophomore and member of the commission, said.

The district is made up of about 40 percent students, according to Erik Anciaux, physics graduate student and advocate for the student district.

“While we are not a majority of the population [in the district], we will be one of the biggest voting groups,” Anciaux said.

The student district encompasses the whole University campus along with surrounding areas with high student population numbers. These areas include West Campus, North Campus up to 51st Street and West Riverside. The district also includes Zilker Park, South Congress and ACC Rio Grande campus, Rafols said.

Anciaux said the new University-centric district will increase students’ political leverage in the city.

“I think the map will give students an opportunity to elect a candidate of our choice,” Anciaux said. “It keeps student-heavy populations together, and I think students will have a voice in city politics because of this map.”

The commission has received public input about the district mapping project over the past few months and will continue to receive input at six more public meetings before completing the final map in December.