New Texas Redistricting Maps Will Likely Be Drawn This Summer
By the end of this summer Texas could have new voting maps for Congressional and State House districts.
A three-judge federal panel in San Antonio could set a summer trial date as early as Monday.
The three federal judges – two Republicans and one Democrat- want final election maps to be ready in time for 2018 statewide and congressional elections.
For that to happen election boundaries must be decided soon which is why the judges told attorneys to get ready for a trial as early as July.
“We are going to do everything we can to get a remedy for the 2018 election," says Jose Garza with the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus. His group is one of the plaintiffs suing the state over maps the Republican legislature drew in 2011.
Three federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have said the maps discriminate against minority voters. They concentrate African-American and Latino voters in a limited number of districts, diluting minority influence in a larger number of districts.
Attorneys for the state declined to comment on what happens next.
Garza says that the Texas Legislature doesn’t appear interested in redrawing the maps in the final weeks of this session , so the judges will probably have to act.
“So the state has had the opportunity to take a shot at this and they haven’t come through on that except to say these plans are going to be defended and they’re going to be appealed so at the end of the day I think we see new plans and they are going to be drawn by this court."
The federal judges told attorneys to be ready for a trial as early as July.
Bexar County’s Elections Administrator Jacquelyn Callanen told the court the new maps need to be in place before October 1, so she can send out new voter ID cards.