Civil rights

Civil Rights Groups Sue Texas Over New Political Cards, Claiming They Dilute the Power of Latinx Voters | Texas News | San Antonio


  • Erik (HASH) Hersman via Flickr Creative Commons
  • Latinxes have made up half of Texas’ population growth over the past decade, but state lawmakers have not increased the number of Latinx majority districts.

As expected, civil rights groups have filed a lawsuit to overturn the newly redesigned political maps of Texas, firing the first salvo of what is expected to be a long legal battle before redistribution plans even reach the end of the spectrum. Governor Greg Abbott’s office.

A federal lawsuit filed Monday in El Paso challenges new maps drawn by the Republican-controlled Texas legislature, arguing that districts violate the constitution by downplaying the political power of Latinx voters. In addition, he alleges that the new cards violate federal voting rights law.

The plaintiffs of the lawsuit are represented by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), which won a challenge similar to the last Texas redistribution in 2010. A federal court ultimately ruled that lawmakers discriminated against voters of color by trying to dilute their votes.

“Although it was only recently found responsible by a federal court for intentional racial discrimination in the redistribution, Texas has yet again enacted plans that dilute the voting power of Latinos,” said the vice president of the MALDEF litigation, Nina Perales, in a written statement. “The new redistribution plans are an illegal attempt to thwart the changing Texas electorate and should be quashed.”

The Latinxes have accounted for half of Texas’ population growth over the past decade, resulting in two new congressional seats for the state. Despite the significant growth in the Latinx population, lawmakers have not increased the number of Latinx majority districts.

In addition to a half-dozen individual voters, plaintiffs in the lawsuit include civil rights groups such as LULAC, the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, and the American GI Forum. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Assistant Secretary of State Jose A. Esparza are the named defendants.

Further lawsuits are not only possible but probable, according to legal experts. Court precedents suggest that judges will present cards that can be proven to deprive black areas or Latin America of new representation, they maintain.

“Seeing the plans now being proposed by the state, they will be easy to beat,” said Albert Kauffman, professor of law at St. Mary’s University. Running end of September. Kauffman spent two decades as a senior litigator for MALDEF.

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