Voting rights advocates sue Abbott over redistricting maps

Several voting rights advocates are suing Texas Gov. Greg Abbott claiming the recent redistricting maps approved are intentionally discriminatory against the state’s Latino, Black, and Asian communities.

The census data revealed Texas had so much of a noticeable growth in population that the state received two additional congressional seats. As a result, the Republican Party got to redistrict the state to fit those seats in since they are the controlling party in Texas. It is how they did the redistricting that resulted in this lawsuit.

The new redistricting maps were approved by Abbott. However, not everyone believes the redistricting map properly represents Texas.

"These cuts were done with precision with the goal of crushing the hopes and dreams of people of color in Texas. All we’re asking is give us a chance, give us a chance to have the representatives in our state mirror our communities," said Lydia Ozuna, president of Texans Against Gerrymandering.

The maps did not sit right for a group of voting rights advocates who claim the maps were intentionally drawn up to hurt voting power for minorities in the state. Tuesday, the lawsuit was filed against Abbott and Texas Secretary of State John Scott over it.

"Fundamentally, what we're saying is that the redistricting process that followed the 2020 the Census, which shapes all of our electoral districts for the decades to come, was drawn in intentionally discriminatory ways to dilute the voting power of communities of color in the state of Texas," said David Donatti, Staff Attorney at The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.

In the most recent census data from the past 10 years shows the Texas population is made up of:

  • White (non-Latino): 41%
  • Latino: 39.7%
  • Black or African American: 12.9%
  • AAPI: 5.3%

"People of color accounted for 95% of the population increase in Texas. This makes Texas one of the most diverse states in this country, but you would not know that by looking at the maps," said Noor Taj, Counsel for Voting Rights with Southern Coalition For Social Justice.

Those who filed the lawsuit are hoping for a few things to come out from this.

"We're seeking a declaration that Texas has intentionally discriminated, and the way that it's drawn maps, that it is intentionally diluted minority voting power, and then, we're also seeking what's called injunctive relief, so we're saying that neither Governor Abbott nor Secretary of State should be able to hold any elections using these unlawfully drawn maps," said Donatti.

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