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Friday, January 27, 2023
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Abbott Approves Texas’s Redrawn Maps as Dems Seethe over Losses

'The only time that communities of color can get justice is going to the courthouse...'

(Headline USA) Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday signed redrawn voting maps that retrenches GOP dominance in the state, despite leftist flights of fancy that the conservative stronghold might be going purple.

Opponents hoped courts would block the newly maps before they can be used in the 2022 elections.

Anti-integrity activist groups have already filed federal lawsuits that accuse GOP mapmakers of disenfranchising Hispanic and black residents who are driving the state’s rapid growth.

The Supreme Court ruled that federal law had no authority over so-called partisan gerrymandering but that it could consider cases in which race was a motivation.

Texas added 4 million new residents since 2010, but under the new U.S. House maps, Republicans added no new districts where Latinos hold a majority. But given former President Donald Trump’s inroads in the Latino community, that point may be moot. Plaintiffs would have to prove that the legislature intentionally sought to disfranchise the population in drawing the maps as such.

The new maps come amid a highly charged leftist power-grab attempt in Texas, where Democrats this summer left the state to begin a 38-day holdout in protest of a modest elections overhaul following the attempts by some areas—including Houston to ignore the existing laws or seek loopholes allowing them to manipulate the vote count and commit acts of fraud.

Activists defended the “sue till blue” approach by insisting that efforts to use the proper legislative channels to achieve their objectives typically failed.

“The only time that communities of color can get justice is going to the courthouse,” Democratic state Rep. Rafael Anchia complained before the final vote on the maps in the Texas House last week.

The newly signed maps mark an end to the state’s once-in-a-decade redistricting process in which lawmakers decide how Texas’ nearly 30 million residents are sorted into political districts and who is elected to represent them.

Texas was the only state awarded two additional congressional seats in the 2020 census, increasing the state’s already outsize political clout.

According to Census figures, more than 9 of 10 new Texans in the last decade were people of color. However, many of those may be illegal immigrants who are ineligible to vote.

Texas Republicans have defended the maps, saying race was not taken into account, except for when preserving equal representation. Republican state Sen. Joan Huffman, who authored the maps and leads the Senate Redistricting Committee, told fellow lawmakers that they were “drawn blind to race.” She also said they were scrutinized by a legal team for violations of the Voting Rights Act.

Texas has had to defend redrawn district lines in court since the Voting Rights Act took effect, but this is the first time since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling said Texas and other states with a history of racial discrimination no longer need to have the Justice Department scrutinize the maps before they are approved.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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