Redistricting in Texas once again leads to concerns of partisan meddling
KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Political maps will soon be re-drawn in Texas after the release of new census numbers, a move than will impact voters across the state.
Legislators are preparing for a third special session in Austin, starting Monday.
The purpose of redistricting is to create new voting districts equal in population per new census figures.
With Republicans firmly in control of the Texas Legislature, Democrats are once again concerned lawmakers will redraw districts in a way to benefit the GOP.
“Control of the legislature means you get to draw the districts next time and, essentially, pick your own voters if you’re the majority party,” said Jeffrey Dixon, associate professor of political science at Texas A&M - Central Texas.
Dixon explained that since districts can be redrawn along partisan lines, meaning existing districts in larger, more populated areas that tend to vote for Democrats can be redrawn in a way to dilute their voting power.
“It’s almost always an accusation,” Dixon said. “Whether it’s true depends largely on what we think minority voting power really means.”
Lawmakers just have to be conscious of constitutional constraints, Dixon said.
The biggest include not making districts in bizarre shapes and not drawing them based off racial demographics.
Court battles on the racial issue and other matters are expected.
Those legal battles are not uncommon.
“Every 10 years we’re going to get a set of lawsuits based on, especially the larger states like Texas, how they draw their districts,” Dixon said.
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