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Justice Department Sues Texas Over Redistricting Plan

December 6, 2021 by Dan McCue
Justice Department Sues Texas Over Redistricting Plan
Attorney General Merrick Garland (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department sued Texas on Monday over the state’s new redistricting plan, alleging it violated Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act by diluting the Latino vote.

“The attorney general has made clear that the Justice Department will not stand idly by in the face of unlawful attempts to restrict access to the ballot,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta during an early afternoon press conference.

“This filing demonstrates the Justice Department stands ready to protect the constitutionally guaranteed voting rights of Americans in Texas and indeed throughout the United States,” she said.

The lawsuit marks the DOJ’s first major legal action on redistricting. It comes at a time when Democrats are growing increasingly concerned that Republican-controlled legislatures across the country are improperly redrawing voting districts and adopting voting restrictions to aid GOP candidates in the 2022 midterms and beyond.

In its lawsuit, the Justice Department claims Texas has a long history of marginalizing minority voters, alleging that “decade after decade” the state has enacted redistricting plans following the decennial census that have repeatedly done just that.

“In enacting its 2021 congressional and House plans, the state has again diluted the voting strength of minority Texans,” the complaint says.

Last month, the Justice Department sued Texas over Senate Bill 1, the new state voting law that it says will disenfranchise the disabled, the elderly and non–English speaking citizens in the state by banning 24-hour and drive-through voting and giving partisan poll watchers more access.

In its latest lawsuit the DOJ says Texas has done much the same with its new congressional and state legislature district maps, refusing “to recognize the state’s growing minority electorate.”

The maps have already inspired at least two other lawsuits.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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