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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed updated voting maps on Monday, paving a safer path for the GOP’s dwindling majority, leaving opponents optimistic that the freshly gerrymandered districts would be blocked by the courts before the 2022 elections.
According to a governor’s spokesman, Gov. Abbott signed the maps on Monday 25th Oct 2021. The governor’s office has yet to issue a statement.
Civil rights organizations have already filed federal lawsuits accusing GOP mapmakers of disenfranchising Hispanic and African-American people, who are fueling the state’s rapid expansion. Republicans added no new districts where Latinos hold a majority under the new U.S. House maps, despite the fact that Texas has grown by 4 million people since 2010.
The new maps bring an end to a tumultuous year in Texas over voting rights, with Democrats leaving the state this summer to launch a 38-day strike in protest of sweeping election reforms.
Before the final vote on the maps in the Texas House last week, Democratic state Rep. Rafael Anchia stated that coming to the courthouse is the only way for communities of color to achieve justice.
The state’s once-in-a-decade redistricting process, in which lawmakers decide how Texas’ nearly 30 million citizens are divided into electoral districts and who is elected to represent them, has come to a conclusion with the newly signed maps. In the 2020 census, Texas was the only state to receive two new congressional seats, bolstering the state’s already considerable political weight.
The state’s Mexican American Legislative Caucus, which is primarily made up of Democrats, is looking for documentation to establish who was involved in designing the maps. The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, along with other minority and voting rights organizations, has filed a separate case in federal court challenging the maps.
According to Census data, persons of color made up more than 9 out of 10 new Texans in the last decade.
Republicans in Texas have defended the maps, claiming that race was not considered except for preserving equal representation. The maps were developed without regard for race, according to Republican state Sen. Joan Huffman, who authored them and chairs the Senate Redistricting Committee. She also claimed that a legal team investigated them for possible violations of the Voting Rights Act.
Since the Voting Rights Act took effect, Texas has had to defend redrawn district lines in court, but this is the first time since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that 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.
This post was Edited and Updated on 27th Oct