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TX House Takes Up Redistricting Map That Lacks Minority Representation

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Tuesday, October 12, 2021   

AUSTIN, Texas -- Data from the 2020 U.S. Census showed 95% of Texas' population growth came from minorities, but the proposed redistricting map approved by the Senate and now before the House will not increase their political power.

Kathay Feng, national redistricting director for the watchdog group Common Cause, said the pandemic delayed census data collection, allowing state legislatures to rush approval of partisan-drawn district maps.

"This release of census data in August, rather than in the usual January/February timeframe, has given cover for states to be drawing lines oftentimes at the expense of community voices and our changing demographics," Feng contended.

A 2013 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court eroded the Voting Rights Act, making it incumbent upon voters who allege discrimination to prove they have been disenfranchised.

The Texas map was proposed by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, who said it was reviewed by the state attorney general's office to ensure Texas complied with the current Voting Rights Act.

Texas is a microcosm of changing demographics across the U.S., reflected in a recent report by the nonprofit Housing Assistance Council.

Lance George, director of Research and Information for the Housing Assistance Council, said one of the more significant demographic trends shown in the census was sustained growth in the Hispanic population. But another big shift applied to both urban and rural areas.

"I would say one of the largest changes was the dramatic increase in multi-racial population; persons identifying themselves as one or more race," George explained.

Census data showed the population identifying as multiracial, about nine million people in the 2010 census, increased by 276% to nearly 34 million people in 2020.

Disclosure: Fair Representation in Redistricting contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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