In Texas, lawmakers illegally showed prejudice against voters of color by pulling new political districts that provide white voters with more political power despite the quick expansion of Hispanic and Black populations, claimed by the department in its complaint.
The U.S. Department of Justice is involved in the legal battle upon newly drawn maps of Texas for Congress and the state House, filing a legal suit on Monday that argues lawmakers in Texas inclined against voters of color by refusing to provide Latino and Black voters with neutral scopes to take part in the voting process and elect their desirable candidates.
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In federal court in Texas, a lawsuit has been filed by the Biden administration, involving in what’s supposed to be a lengthy battle across the political boundaries that will be used by the state for the upcoming election.
It came together with a group of individual voters and organizations depicting voters of color that have already filed a lawsuit against the state for maps that aid in the strengthening of the GOP’s supremacy whilst fading the dominance of voters of color.
The maps combat a minimum of five legal threats based on claims that the districts outlined by the Texas Legislature are illegal and breach the federal Voting Rights Act as they reduce the voting power of voters of color.
The justice department lawsuit also calls the federal court to bar the state from organizing the forthcoming March preliminaries under the opposed maps.
At a Monday press conference, Vanita Gupta, U.S. Associate Attorney General claimed that the maps signed into legislation by the Republican-governed Legislature reflected an “overall disregard for the massive minority population growth” the state went through in the last ten years.
Gupta said, “Our investigation determined that Texas’ redistricting plans will dilute the increased minority voting strength that should have developed from these significant demographic shifts.”
This year, Texas lawmakers embarked on the responsibility of redistricting to include population growth across the last decade into the state’s maps and neutralize the district’s population. However, their work, passed into legislation by Republican Governor Greg Abbott, was majorly not representing the state’s growth, among which, 95% was imputable to people of color.
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Republicans chose to provide white voters with an efficient charge of the two new congressional districts the state obtained due to its massive population growth, yet the state’s white population has stayed quite still.
The number of districts with a Hispanic voting majority has also been dropped from eight to seven due to the state’s new congressional map whereas the count of districts with Black people being the core of entitled voters reduces to zero from one. 50 percent of the 4 million residents gained by the state over the last decade were Hispanic.
In its lawsuit, the justice department takes definite target at the correction of the 23rd Congressional District in West Texas, a long battled-over district, which it states was redesigned by swapping voters and separating boundaries so as the final product would “eliminate a Latino electoral opportunity.”
Additionally, the DOJ highlights the configuration of districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth region where it claims the map “effectively turns back a decade of rapid Latino population growth and preserves Anglo control of most remaining districts.”
Republicans redesign the congressional districts in the region with nearly surgical attention, leaving urban and suburban voters of color in massive rural districts.
Elimination of Latino Electoral Opportunities
The DOJ is also opposing Texas’ new state House map where it claims Latino electoral opportunities were eliminated by lawmakers “through manipulation or outright elimination of districts where Latino communities previously had elected their preferred candidates.”
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The number of districts in the map reduces from 33 to 30 in which Hispanics bring up the maximum eligible voters.
During the reconfiguring process, Republicans claimed that their maps adhere to federal laws securing voters of color from prejudice, although they refused to provide details regarding their legal study.
In a Twitter post, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stated “The Department of Justice’s absurd lawsuit against our state is the Biden Administration’s latest ploy to control Texas voters,” adding “I am confident that our legislature’s redistricting decisions will be proven lawful, and this preposterous attempt to sway democracy will fail.”
For years, along with the redistricting cycle after 2011, the state has experienced accusations and ensuing federal court orders, that lawmakers inclined against voters of color, deliberately putting efforts to weaken the strength of their votes.
Administration Plays an Important Role in State’s Redistricting Fight
The announcement on Monday indicates that the administration is contributing a pivotal part in the state’s redistricting battle following the Trump administration changing sides in support of the state at the end of a lawsuit across the last session of redistricting, which also took the state to federal court over similar accusations.
It also established the altering legal ground for voting rights in the country.
The political mapmaking of this year marked the first time in almost half a century that lawmakers in Texas were redrawing the state’s maps independently without federal supervision, called preclearance, which was supposed to guard voters of color against chauvinism.
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Texas usually ran inaptly of that protection, which restricted the state’s voting legislation and maps from going into effect immediately, although that protection vanished in 2013 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
On Monday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated “Were that preclearance tool still in place, we would likely not be here today announcing this complaint.”