A panel of U.S. judges has determined that election districts drawn up in Texas after the 2010 census are in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Bloomberg News is reporting that minorities’ ability to vote their interests has been strategically minimized under the current electoral map’s guidelines.
The decision, crafted by a 3-judge panel, said that the state of Texas had failed to establish that the new district lines do not “have the purpose or effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.” Therefore the majority-Republican Texas legislature is violating Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
The 72-page opinion read in part, “We conclude that Texas has not met its burden to show that the U.S. Congressional and State House Plans will not have a retrogressive effect, and that the U.S. Congressional and State Senate Plans were not enacted with discriminatory purpose.”
Texas sued the Obama administration in 2011, contending that its Republican-drawn districts posed no threats to minority voters’ representation. A three-judge panel ruled in that case that the state had used “improper methodology” when making its case that minorities would still have representation.
In the current trial, Texas v. U.S., 11-cv-01303, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington), the Justice Department alleged that the state legislature had “purposely manipulated” lines around the Dallas-Ft. Worth area to break up the cities’ strong black voting bloc and decrease its electoral power permanently.
The Voting Rights Act which passed in the year following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in order to provide equal access to the polls for all Americans, regardless of race.
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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