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Voto Latino files lawsuit challenging new Texas congressional maps

It alleges the map dilutes the voting power of communities of color in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

AUSTIN, Texas — A lawsuit has been filed against Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas Secretary of State John Scott and other Texas officials challenging the new congressional map Gov. Abbott signed off on this week.

The map determines the state’s U.S. Congressional districts for the next decade.

The lawsuit was filed by a group of individual voter plaintiffs and Voto Latino with the support of the National Democratic Redistricting Action Fund (NRAF) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, in Austin.

It alleges the map dilutes the voting power of communities of color in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race, color or membership.

Texas gained two congressional seats as a result of the state’s population growth between the 2010 and 2020 Census. Census data showed 95% of the state’s growth during that time came from communities of color. The new map decreases the voting power of those communities and increases the number of districts where a majority of voting-age residents are white.

“Texas added 2 million Latinos to its population in the 2020 Census, and yet state Republicans have still found a way to gerrymander and avoid adding districts that represent this growth. The Texas GOP’s efforts silence Latino voices through diminishing the power of their voting, packing and dividing them into convoluted district lines that lessen their representation, and making it harder to elect representatives of their choice,” said Voto Latino CEO Maria Teresa Kumar. “Latino population growth was the primary factor in why Texas has been allotted two new Congressional seats next cycle, yet these new redistricting lines are further evidence that Texas Republicans believe they can act with impunity in their crusade to suppress the vote.”

The lawsuit follows another challenge filed this month by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund in El Paso. That 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.

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