Senate Reveals District Maps and Announces Opportunities for Public Comment
The Senate has released new district map proposals for both the Texas Senate and the State Board of Education. The Senate Redistricting Committee will hold hearings this Friday and Saturday, and the public may provide testimony/feedback on the proposed maps. See below for the dates and times of the hearings.
Unfortunately, voting rights advocates believe that the proposed Senate map would further dilute the voting strength of communities of color in Texas. Despite the State's overwhelming growth in communities of color over the past decade, which accounted for 95% of the State's total population increase, the overall number of districts that could potentially elect candidates of choice is likely to remain the same.
Senate District 10 is a noted concern in the proposed map because it has been expanded to include Johnson and Parker Counties. This district was a part of 2011’s redistricting litigation, and a federal court ordered the State to redraw this district so that communities of color in Tarrant County could collectively elect a candidate of choice (Sen Beverly Powell). With the proposed addition of two rural counties, this district would now most likely elect a conservative candidate and would dilute the voting power of communities of color in Tarrant County.
Sen. Nathan Johnson's district in Dallas County has been redrawn to have a higher population of LatinX residents, and the new district proposal could possibly elect a candidate of choice for that community.
Overall, though, it is very disappointing. Our most densely populated counties have had a record amount of growth from communities of color, but instead of drawing new “opportunity districts” to elect a candidate of their choice, the State has chosen to further "crack and pack" these voters to diminish their influence.
We need folks from the following areas to provide testimony and/or written comments for the Senate hearings:
Fort Bend County
Beaumont & Port Arthur
Here are some questions that you can use to help you evaluate the district maps:
Do the new district lines split up your community?
Do the other areas included in your district have common needs and concerns, or have you been grouped with far-off communities that are drastically different?
Is your community currently working together to overcome a problem? (For example, flooding or affordable housing.) Would these district lines prevent your community from working together to overcome those issues?
How to Provide Comments on the Maps
Hearing Dates and Times:
Friday, Sept. 24
Saturday, Sept. 25