Monday, July 4, 2022

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Trial Date Set for Texas Redistricting Lawsuit

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Friday, March 11, 2022   

Voters of color in Texas will have to wait until this fall for the outcome of a discrimination lawsuit against the state.

At issue are the voting-district maps for state legislative and congressional races. The current lawsuit will go to trial in September. It combines a half-dozen court challenges to the new maps, claiming they dilute the voting power of people of color.

Lydia Ozuna, president of Texans Against Gerrymandering, said the new maps and stricter voting laws make it harder to vote. For instance, the Secretary of State has an online ballot-tracking application which requires a person to enter two numbers: Social Security and driver's license.

"It's not an either/or, it's both," Ozuna explained. "There are so many disconnects, in terms of how this new law is being applied, it is next to impossible for them to navigate these systems."

Ozuna thinks people might quickly give up because of the difficulty. But backers of the requirements argued they are needed to prevent voter fraud. Voting-rights groups are concerned the case won't be decided before the midterm elections Nov. 8.

The Fair Maps Texas Action Committee claims the multiple legal challenges to the voting-district maps show the Legislature is repeating its past mistakes. Since passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, the committee pointed out Texas has not gone a single decade without a court finding the state had violated federal protections for voters of color.

Ozuna contends the district lines need to be redrawn.

"So that they indeed address the issues of representation by different groups," Ozuna stressed. "And so that our groups stop being divided with such precision so that we don't have a voice in who will represent us."

As the complaint documents, some Texas communities are being "cracked" or divided "with almost surgical precision," depriving some voters of the opportunity to elect their candidates of choice.


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