TPM Muckraker has this report on the latest Department of Justice (DOJ) filing on the Texas Congressional and state House redistricting maps, Feds: Rick Perry-Signed Texas Redistricting Plan Reduces Voting Power Of 479,704 Hispanics.
There is “ample circumstantial evidence” that the congressional and state representative redistricting maps signed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry had not only the effect but the intent of limiting the voting power of Hispanic voters, Justice Department lawyers said in a court filing late Tuesday.
DOJ is seeking the block the maps, filing to deny Texas’ request for summary judgement in a case involving allegations that officials in the state tried to limit the voter power of Hispanic voters in violation of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
Federal lawyers contended in the newest filing that there is “ample circumstantial evidence of a discriminatory purpose with regard to both the State House and Congressional plans” and that in the new maps nearly half a million fewer Hispanics would live in districts where they would have the ability to elect a candidate of their choosing.
They also say the only way to get the truth is in court.
Justice Department officials said the only way this could be settled is for the facts to come out in court.
“Deviations from procedural and substantive standards, as well as racially-charged contemporaneous statements, also provide significant evidence of a discriminatory purpose,” DOJ lawyers argue. “The State has presented little evidence concerning the intent of the proposed plan, but the legislative staff who crafted the map and legislators closely involved in the process have provided conflicting testimony. Assessing the credibility of these witnesses and resolving other disputed factual issues cannot be performed until trial.”
For more on the Texas GOP’s attacks on Hispanic voters, check out these two recent releases from the Texas Democratic Party.
As George P. Bush visits EL Paso today with other legislators as part of their Hispanic outreach tour, likely missing from their stump speech are the facts that Hispanic Republicans have purged tens of thousands of Latinos from their legislative districts and voted to disenfranchise tens of thousands more. The Department of Justice pointed to four of the districts represented by members of the Hispanic Republican Conference (Torres/HD 33, Aliseda/HD 35, Pena/HD 41, and Garza/HD 117) as violating the Voting Rights Act when refusing to pre-clear the state house maps.
“Hispanic Republicans have made it clear that their outreach plan is to take Latinos out of their districts and make it harder for them to vote,” said Senator Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso). “The Republican voter suppression legislation could disenfranchise close to 30,000 voters currently registered in El Paso County. It’s more appropriate to call their outreach tour a disenfranchisement tour.”
Together, the six members of the Hispanic Republican Conference kicked out 180,536 Latinos from their districts. Further, all six members voted for the voter suppression legislation which could disenfranchise 73,375 registered Latinos in the counties they represent. In El Paso County, 29,908 individuals – including 19,108 Hispanics – lack a state issued driver’s license or identification card.
Click the link above included in the list are over 11,000 removed from HD-52 here in Williamson County, represented by Larry Gonzales.
Today, the Texas Democratic Party sent an open records request to Rep. Larry Gonzales (click here). In an interview with Austin’s YNN News regarding SB 14, the voter ID bill, Gonzales unequivocally stated that no one will be disenfranchised once all forms of ID allowable under SB 14 are factored in. The TDP is requesting the data Gonzales possesses to demonstrate his claim, pursuant to the state open records law, Tex. Gov’t Code Ann. Secs. 552.001 to 552.353.
In the YNN “Capital Tonight” interview airing October 14th, in regard to the over 600,000 voters the Texas Secretary of State reports lack the state-issued driver’s license or identification card, Gonzales stated:
“What the Democrats aren’t taking into consideration is, the numbers they saw do not include all 7 forms of identification. It only includes a few of them. We feel confident that once all the forms are included, no one will be disenfranchised and people will have access to the polls, and remember, it’s all about voter integrity in the first place.”
“Rep. Gonzales made a bold claim in defense of a bill that will disenfranchise his own constituents,” said TDP Spokeswoman Kirsten Gray. “His explanation just doesn’t pass the smell test and he’s obviously desperate to defend his purely partisan support for this discriminatory bill.”
The Republican voter ID law that Gonzales is defending is currently being reviewed for preclearance under the Voting Rights Act by the Department of Justice.
We know that nearly 604,000 Texans who are currently registered to vote have neither a Texas Driver’s License or Personal Identification Card (form of ID), according to documentation provided to the Department of Justice by the Texas Secretary of State.
It’s pretty clear that the Texas GOP sees diluting, if not outright decreasing, the Hispanic vote in Texas as their key to victory in the future.