Texas Republicans on Monday approved redesigned U.S. House maps that favor incumbents and diminish political representation for growing minority communities, even though Latinos are responsible for much of the growth in the United States. largest red state in the country.
GOP Governor Greg Abbott is expected to approve the changes. Civil rights groups sued even before Republican lawmakers finished Monday.
“Texas is using all means at its disposal to prevent the inevitable change in the Texan electorate,” said Nina Perales, lawyer with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
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His organization filed a lawsuit with several other minority rights groups in federal court in Texas. He alleges Republican cartographers have diluted the political strength of minority voters by not drawing any new districts where Latino residents hold a majority, although Latinos have made up half of Texas’ 4 million new residents over the past decade. .
A spokesperson for Abbott, who is named in the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
Republicans have said they have obeyed the law in defending the Cards, which protect their grip on Texas by attracting more GOP-supporter voters to suburban districts where Democrats have made inroads in recent years.
Texas has been regularly taken to court for decades for voting cards, and in 2017, a federal court found that a map drawn by Republicans was drawn to intentionally discriminate against minority voters. But two years later, that same court said there was insufficient reason to take the extraordinary step of putting Texas back under federal scrutiny before changing laws or voting cards.
The maps that revise how Texas’ nearly 30 million people are divided into political districts – and who is elected to represent them – end a very busy year in the state when it comes to voting rights. Democratic lawmakers have twice abandoned an election bill that tightened the state’s already strict voting rules, which they called a brazen attempt to deprive minorities and other Democratic-leaning voters of the right to vote.
The plan does not create additional districts where black or Hispanic voters make up more than 50% of the electoral population, even though people of color have made up more than 9 of 10 new residents to Texas over the past decade.
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Republican State Senator Joan Huffman, who drew the maps and heads the Senate Redistribution Committee, told fellow lawmakers they were “blind to race.” She said her legal team made sure the plan complied with voting rights law.
The Texas GOP controls both houses of the Legislature, giving them almost complete control over the card-making process. The state has had to defend its cards in court after every redistribution process since the Voting Rights Act came into effect in 1965, but this will be the first since a decision by the Supreme Court of the States- United said Texas and other states with a history of racial discrimination no longer need to ask the Department of Justice to review the cards before they are approved.
However, drawing cards to create political advantage is not unconstitutional. The proposal would also make about two dozen of the state’s 38 congressional districts safe, with the potential to reclaim at least one newly redesigned Democratic stronghold on the border with Mexico, according to an Associated analysis. Press data from last year’s election collected by the Texas Legislative Council. Currently, Republicans hold 23 of 36 state seats.
Following negotiations between members of the Texas House and state senators, the districts of the Houston-area districts of U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat serving her 14th term, and Representative American Al Green, a neighboring Democrat, have been restored, dissociating the two and firing Jackson Lee’s back in his neighborhood.
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Texas lawmakers also approved redesigned maps for their own districts, with Republicans following a similar plan that does not increase districts of opportunity for minorities and would keep their party in power in the state House and Senate. .
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