Justice Department sues Texas over new redistricting maps

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, on Nov. 8, 2021. The Department of Justice has sued Texas over new redistricting maps, saying the plans discriminate against voters in the state’s booming Latino and Black populations. The maps passed by Texas’ Republican-dominated Legislature favor incumbents and decrease political representation for growing minority communities that have driven growth in the nation’s largest red state. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

US Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said Texas is violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act

TEXAS, USA — The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the state of Texas over its new redistricting map.

According to Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, Texas is violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires that state voting laws, including laws that draw electoral maps, provide eligible voters with an equal opportunity to participate in the democratic process and elect representatives of their choosing.

Garland is alleging that Texas has created redistricting plans that “deny or bridge the rights of Latinos and Black voters to vote on account of their race, color or membership and language-minority group. 

“Our complaint today alleges that the redistricting plans approved by the Texas state legislature and signed into law by the governor will deny Black and Latino voters an equal opportunity to participate in the voting process and to elect representatives of their choice in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Our complaint also alleges that several of those districts were drawn with discriminatory intent,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta.

Census data shows Black, Hispanic, and Asian residents made up 95% of Texas’ population growth since the last time maps were drawn in 2011.

However, this year marks the first time in decades lawmakers won’t have to get federal preclearance to ensure the maps aren’t discriminatory. A 2013 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court struck down that part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. According to Garland, the preclearance provision was the department’s best tool for protecting people’s right to vote.

Written by KHOU 11 Staff, Associated Press

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