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Demonstrators hold up signs at a rally at the Texas State Capitol on June 20, 2021 in Austin.

Demonstrators hold up signs at a rally at the Texas State Capitol on June 20, 2021 in Austin. (Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images)

Institute Index: Why the DOJ Sued Texas Over Its New Voting Maps

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta announced the lawsuit last week.

Sue Sturgis

 by Facing South

Date on which the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Texas under the Voting Rights Act, challenging new redistricting plans for congressional and state House districts: 12/6/2021

Section of the Voting Rights Act the DOJ claims the Texas maps violate, which is the provision banning discrimination on account of race, color, or language minority status: 2

Month when the DOJ published guidance explaining that the VRA's Section 2 prohibits "vote dilution," which occurs when an electoral practice cancels the voting strength of racial or language minority groups, and which the DOJ believes will happen under Texas's new redistricting plans: 9/2021

Number by which Texas's population grew from 2010 to 2020: 4 million

Number of new congressional seats Texas got because of that population growth: 2

Percent of Texas's growth over the past decade represented by Black and Latino people: 95

Percent of the state's two new congressional districts drawn to have Anglo voting majorities: 100

The new maps' reduction in the number of Texas congressional districts with a majority of eligible voters who are Black: 1 to 0

The reduction in the number of Texas congressional districts with Hispanic voting majorities: 8 to 7

Reduction in the number of state House districts with a Hispanic voting majority: 33 to 30

Given the state's population changes, number of Texas's congressional and state House districts, respectively, where Latinos should be able to win a seat in order for the community to achieve proportional representation: 11, 45

Number of the legislature's new congressional and state House districts where a Latino could be elected: 7, 29

In the Dallas area, miles some new voting districts extend to put urban communities of color in predominantly white rural districts: 100

Over the past three decades, number of times the state legislature has eliminated a Latino electoral opportunity in West Texas despite court rulings that this violates the law: 3

Instead of the more liberal D.C. Circuit, the conservative-stacked federal appeals circuit that will now hear the Texas case, a consequence of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2013 Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder ruling, which also ended the Voting Rights Act's federal preclearance requirement for election changes in places with a history of voter discrimination, including Texas: 5th

Total number of lawsuits Texas now faces over its election maps for diminishing the voting strength of communities of color: at least 5

Number of election cycles experts say it may take for these lawsuits to be resolved, with Texans voting under the problematic maps in the meantime unless Congress shores up weakened voting rights protections by passing legislation such as the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act: multiple

(Click on figure to go to source.)

© 2021 Institute for Southern Studies
Sue Sturgis

Sue Sturgis

Sue Sturgis is the Director and regular contributor to the Institute for Southern Study's online magazine, Facing South, with a focus on energy and environmental issues. She is a former staff writer for The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the Independent Weekly in Durham, North Carolina. Sue is the author or co-author of five Institute reports, including Faith in the Gulf (Aug/Sept 2008), Hurricane Katrina and the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (January 2008) and Blueprint for Gulf Renewal (Aug/Sept 2007). Sue holds a Masters in Journalism from New York University.

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