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MALDEF: End Of Voting Rights Act Leaves Minorities Exposed

State of Texas District Viewer

The chief legal counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund is applauding Gov. Rick Perry for signing into law the interim voting maps, but said not having a Voting Rights Act leaves minority communities vulnerable.

This week the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

Nina Perales is the chief legal counsel for the MALDEF and said the supreme court has taken away a tool for fair and equitable state voting maps.

"While the supreme court didn't strike down all of the Voting Rights Act, it invalidated the most important tool, which allowed us to fight discrimination and which had been recently re-authorized by Congress in 2006 by a wide bipartisan margin," Perales said.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott stated this week that 2011 maps that the court found to be racially flawed along with a voter ID law could go into effect thanks to the supreme court ruling.

"To anyone who says we don’t have discrimination today all you have to do is look at Texas and two different federal courts in 2012 holding that two different laws enacted in Texas were discriminatory against minority voters: Voter ID and redistricting," Perales said.

She said the interim voting maps now signed to law by Perry are a tremendous improvement from the 2011 Republican-drawn maps.

"The interim maps were drawn by a federal court after it looked at the 2011 plan and found areas where there was a strong likelihood that there was discrimination," Perales said. "So the interim plans are light years ahead of where the 2011 plans were."

Going forward, Perales saids Congress needs to act to restore voting protection for minority voters and MALDEF will being going back to court to insure that the 2011 maps are completely thrown out.