LULAC, the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas, and a host of other groups came together to file a federal lawsuit on Monday against Abbott and Texas Deputy Secretary Jose E. Esparza. The suit names PlanC2193 and redistricting maps for the House, Senate, and State Board of Education, all of which the groups argue pose a threat to Latino voters.
Filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) on behalf of those groups, the suit also lists individual voters as plaintiffs. Many of these voters hail from major metros like San Antonio and Austin, where redistricting could drastically change the makeup of their districts.
In San Antonio, GOP lawmakers moved to take out the Alamo and Lackland Air Force Base from Democrat U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro’s district. It will instead move from the 20th district to the 23rd, which Republican U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzalez represents.
“The proposed maps are designed to discriminate, particularly against Latinos who are the driving force behind the state’s population growth,” Castro told the San Antonio Express-News. Hispanics have made up half of the state’s four million population boom since 2010.
In Austin, Republicans aimed to group Democrat voters into one district while expanding their footprint in suburbs and exurbs.
According to the Texas Tribune, the latest congressional redistricting map eliminates the lone district in Texas with a majority of Black eligible voters. It also adds another district with a majority of white eligible voters, raising that number from 22 to 23 districts. The map encompasses 38 districts, adding two new districts to the state based on census data.
Now more than ever, it appears federal oversight is one of the surest bets against restrictive redistricting maps being implemented. Texas could be held accountable if the Freedom to Vote Act is passed. Call on lawmakers to do the right thing and prioritize ending partisan gerrymandering.
This post has been updated to amend the fact that Texas will have 38 total districts and not 36 on its congressional redistricting map once that map is approved.