Interim Redistricting Maps Don’t Go Far Enough in Protecting The Latino Voting Strength in Texas
March 1, 2012
Contact: Paloma Zuleta, email@example.com, (202) 812-4477
San Antonio, TX – The League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Latino membership organization expressed disappointment over some aspects of the interim maps that were released by a three judge panel in the Western District of Texas.
“Despite clear and convincing evidence and testimony by numerous expert witnesses over many months; the court drawn maps released yesterday do not go far enough to protect the voting rights of the three million Latinos living in Texas,” said LULAC National President Margaret Moran. “It’s clear that the intent of the Legislature was to disenfranchise Latino voters across the state by denying us the opportunity to elect the candidates of our choice. Because of the Voting Rights Act, we were able to intervene and fight for fair representation.”
The U.S. 2010 Census made it clear that the demographic population shift in Texas was a direct result of the over 80 percent minority growth with the overwhelming majority being Latinos. The Texas Legislature used racial bias and discriminatory practices in drawing the original redistricting maps. While the interim map does provide for two new majority-minority districts in Texas, certain aspects of the map compromise key majority-minority districts in the state. With the creation of Congressional District 35, the Latino community was provided with an opportunity to elect a candidate of our choice. However, the interim maps continue to divide communities across the Southside of Bexar County into four (4) congressional districts, and Travis County is divided into five (5) congressional districts.
“Obviously the interim maps need more work! We hope that the D.C. Court will deny Texas preclearance,” stated Ms. Moran. “LULAC will continue to fight for a redistricting map that fully reflects the growth of the Texas Latino population.”
Section Five of the Voting Rights Act requires that legislative-drawn maps be pre-cleared by the Department of Justice before they are put into effect. The interim state maps must still be pre-cleared, before they can go into effect and be used in the 2012 election.
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is a volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 900 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.lulac.org.