Texas lawmakers to redraw district maps based on latest census data
BELL COUNTY – A proposed redistribution map was released over the weekend and some believe the map will give Bell County more representation, but some believe it will exclude people of color.
State lawmakers are back in Austin for another special session, but this time their focus will be on the redistribution.
Many are optimistic since the 2020 census showed growth across central Texas.
“Over the past 10 years, the state of Texas has grown in leaps and bounds. We also know that about 90-95% of this growth has occurred in communities of color, ”said Bell County Democratic Party Chairman Bill Rosenberg.
“It is really important that these lines are drawn, and that they are drawn fairly, and that they are drawn in a way that everyone is represented,” said Bell County Republican Party chairperson. , Nancy Boston.
It happens every 10 years, this time around local political leaders are looking for more representation. Since Republicans have a majority in the House and Senate, Democratic leaders believe they could use this process as an opportunity to increase their power through gerrymandering.
“If you are the party that makes a difference, do you want to draw ridings that allow your party to earn just enough in a bunch of ridings to expand or strengthen your political power. This will give you more seats in a statewide vote, ”said Patrick Flavin, associate professor of political science at Baylor University.
Which Democrats say will impact communities of color.
“People of color traditionally tend to vote more Democrats than Republican. Republicans are aware of this and they will use the reshuffle of these lines to dilute the power of these voting groups, ”Rosenberg said.
The Supreme Court ruled that political gerrymandering was acceptable, but race-based gerrymandering was not. Local Republican leaders say they don’t and want to make sure everyone has an equal chance to vote.
“I think these lines are drawn fairly and to the best of their ability. Once all the drawing is done, we have to work together, ”Bell County Republican Party Chair Nancy Boston said.
It is the first time in decades that federal law has allowed Texas to draw and use political maps without obtaining federal approval to ensure they do not take away the voting rights of people of color.