Southwest Voter Registration Education Project
2914 N. Main Street Los Angeles, CA 90031
Phone: 323-205-2190

The Texas Redistricting Case Headed to Federal Court, Again!

By SVREP Vice President Lydia Camarillo

Every ten years, immediately after the US Census counts the nation’s population, the US embarks in the redistricting process – some states lose congressional seats, while others gain them.


SVREP called it! We projected that Texas would gain 2 to 4 new congressional seats and that New York would lose at least 1 seat, however could draw a new congressional Latino-majority seat. New York did draw a new congressional Latino-majority seat, which is currently held by the first Dominican member of congress.


Texas will likely gain another 2 to 4 congressional seats after the 2020 census count; this would give Texas the 2nd largest number of the electoral votes - 40 to 42 electoral votes. Only California will have more electoral votes than Texas, as it currently has 54 votes. Our projected Texas seat increase for the previous redistricting, as well as for the upcoming one, have stemmed from the rising Latino population.


Just look at the statistics from 2011. Texas gained 4 new congressional seats. Texas populations increased by 4.3 million, and 65% of whom were Latinos. Despite the significant Latino population rise, the Texas legislature still determined that it would steal away one congressional seat, rather than provide the Latino community with real representation. Texas retrogressed congressional District 23.


With 7 Latino-majority seats drawn to provide Latinos the opportunity to elect the candidates of their choice, Texas drew its congressional maps where Latinos lost seats. The Latino community started the redistricting fight with not 9 or 10 congressional Latino-majority seats, but merely 6. The State House map is no different – Latinos are left behind and lost representation and the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.


Texas has a long, extensive, history of passing laws that discriminate and violate our civil and voting rights. Texas is not shy to promote systemic barriers that block the Latino political clout. These acts are intentional, methodical, and designed to undermine the Latino vote.


SVREP sued Texas. But we didn’t just start with a lawsuit.


SVREP organized, took part in numerous meetings, presented our own sets of maps – we organized city and county redistricting committees and a statewide committee. The committees where inclusive and diverse. They included leaders, business men and women, activists, and elected officials from every corner of Texas – from the Rio Grande to El Paso, to Dallas, to Houston, to Corpus, to Austin, to San Antonio.


We did this in partnership with other Latino leaders, groups including the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), Texas Mexican American Bar Association (MABA), TX-HOPE, NOMAR, William C. Velásquez Institute (WCVI), Southwest Workers Union and many other groups from throughout Texas.


Ultimately, the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force formed and sued Texas. The membership of the Task Force that sued Texas is made up of MALDEF, WCVI, TX-MABA, TX-HOPE, NOMAR, SW Workers Union and SVREP. MALDEF is our legal representative and I serve as the Chair of the Task Force.


The lawsuit gave way to Federal Court in San Antonio drawing remedy congressional and state House maps. Our lawsuit barred Texas from retrogressing congressional District 23, as well as it created new Latino-majority districts in the CD33 (Dallas/Ft Worth Metro-plex) and CD35 (San Antonio to Austin). The CD27 was lost, but Latinos gained a seat that starts in Brownville, and moves up the state all the way to Corpus. Texas voters have cast their vote under these maps in the – 2012, 2014 and 2016 elections.


Since we sued, the Federal Court found that Texas did draw redistricting maps with the intent to discriminate and dilute the Latino vote. It found that the 2011 maps are illegal, racially gerrymandered and unconstitutional.


Next week, the Federal Court will address several issues at the hearing set on July 10th to 14that the San Antonio Federal Court House. During this court hearing, SVREP's legal battle is to keep HD90 a Latino-majority seat.


Just in time to get ready for the 2018 elections and the next redistricting fight.

And it won’t be the last time we end up suing Texas, either. Sad, but true. 



Featured News:

AUSTIN — Texas and more than two dozen other states are refusing to fully comply with a sweeping and unprecedented White House request to turn over voter registration data, including sensitive information like partial Social Security numbers and party affiliation — making themselves the target Saturday morning of a Twitter storm by President Donald Trump.

Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos said his office will share any publicly available information with Trump's Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity as requested, including the names, addresses, dates of birth and political party affiliations of the state's more than 15 million voters. But the state will not be sharing partial social security numbers that the Trump commission asked for because that information is not part of voter rolls.

"The Secretary of State's office will provide the Election Integrity Commission with public information and will protect the private information of Texas citizens while working to maintain the security and integrity of our state's elections system," Pablos said. "As always, my office will continue to exercise the utmost care whenever sensitive voter information is required to be released by state or federal law."

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