DoJ Finds Perry’s TX Redistricting Plan Purposely Discriminates Against Minorities, Questions Similar Effect of New Polling Place Photo ID Law
By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2011 5:41pm
There are two important late Friday announcements from the newly revived, post-Bush Voting Unit at U.S. Dept. of Justice’s Civil Rights Department this afternoon. In both cases, they’ve raised serious concerns about discrimination by Republican Presidential front-runner Rick Perry’s Texas against Hispanic and African-American voters.
Given the Lone Star State’s history of discrimination against racial minorities, new laws and regulations which relate to elections and voting must be pre-cleared by the Dept. of Justice before they can be put into effect, as per Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act.
In one finding, the DoJ sees purposeful discrimination against minorities in the state’s redistricting plans [PDF] for apportioning both new statehouse districts, as well as four new U.S. House seats being added in the wake of the 2010 census. The new seats are being added due to an increase in the TX population, thanks in no small part, ironically enough, to huge growth in the state’s Hispanic population. The DoJ finds the proposed statehouse plan violate Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, stating that it “was adopted, at least in part, for the purpose of diminishing the ability of citizens of the United States, on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group, to elect their preferred candidates of choice to the Texas House of Representatives.”