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Date: 9/30/2021
Subject: Action Alert - Send Your Comments of Senate's Redistricting Map!
From: Stephanie Swanson, LWVTX Redistricting Issue Chair

Action Alert!
September 30, 2021

 Senate Releases District Map Proposal for Congressional Districts, Gives Opportunities for Public Comment

The Senate has released a new district map proposal for the U.S. Congress.  The Senate Redistricting Committee will be holding a hearing on Thursday, Sept. 30th at 9 AM CT, and the public may provide testimony/feedback on the proposed maps. Please see below for the official hearing notice.

Unfortunately, the Senate Redistricting Committee has not provided the public very much time to prepare for the upcoming hearing on the map proposal. They called the hearing a little less than 3 days after the map was released. Community organizations have not been given enough time to alert their members and communities about this hearing, let alone enough time to analyze the map to determine its potential impact. In response, the Fair Maps Texas Coalition along with 40 community organizations sent a letter to the Senate Redistricting Committee to voice concerns over this compressed timeline. 

Voting rights advocates have genuine concerns about the constitutionality of these maps. Given the enormous increase in population amongst voters of color over the last decade, even maintaining representation for voters of color, which isn’t guaranteed under this proposed map, would be grossly inadequate. There are patterns of packing and cracking of Black, Latinx, and AAPI communities across the state. Both Harris and Dallas Counties are of particular concern, with the proposed maps fracturing communities so badly that it is difficult to decipher exactly which district you are in.  

Congress members Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green, elected officials that were the preferred candidate of choice of voters of color, have been drawn into the same district and will be pitted against one another.  Congress member Sylvia Garcia, another preferred candidate of choice, has been placed in the same district as Congress member Dan Crenshaw. The communities located in these historical districts have worked hard over the past half century to gain representation, and it is shameful that the State is now trying to take away their preferred candidates of choice.

We need Texans from the following areas to provide testimony and/or written comments for the Senate’s hearing:

  • Tarrant County 

  • Dallas County

  • Fort Bend County

  • Harris County

  • Bexar County

  • Central Texas

  • Beaumont & Port Arthur

  • El Paso County

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: The committee will be accepting oral testimony in Austin, or you may submit written comments through their portal.  

Hearing Dates and Times: Thursday, Sept. 29 at 9 AM

Click here for official hearing notice

League of Women Voters of Texas