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Coalition of Latino organizations files lawsuit challenging Texas redistricting maps

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed the lawsuit on Monday against Gov. Greg Abbott and Deputy Secretary of State Jose Esparza.

EL PASO, Texas — The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) is suing Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Deputy Secretary of State Jose Esparza over the State’s new redistricting maps.

The lawsuit was filed on Monday, Oct. 18 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in El Paso. MALDEF filed on behalf of the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force, which is made up of individual voters and several Latino organizations “committed to securing fair redistricting plans” in Texas, according to a release.

The lawsuit says plaintiffs want a declaratory judgement that the new maps “violate their civil rights because the plans unlawfully dilute the voting strength of Latinos” and intentionally discriminate on the basis of race and national origin.

MALDEF said the maps violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in a release.

The Texas State House and Texas State Senate maps are currently headed to Abbott’s desk after both the House and Senate passed them. Lawmakers are also drawing new maps for the U.S. congressional districts in Texas and the State Board of Education.

The Texas Legislature only has one more day left in its third special session.

The number of districts where Hispanics make up the majority of eligible voters dropped from 33 to 30 in the new House map. In the congressional map, the number goes from eight to seven.

However, according to 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data, 95% of new Texas residents since 2010 were people of color, and half of them were Hispanic.

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