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Racially Gerrymandered Districts Overturned in Texas

by Countable | 8.16.17

What’s the story?

On Tuesday a federal court, three-judge panel in San Antonio, TX ruled that two Texas congressional districts, around Corpus Christi and Austin, were racially gerrymandered. District boundaries must be redrawn immediately. One of the districts is represented by a Republican and one by a Democrat, so both parties may be affected by the redistricting.

Why does it matter?

Racial gerrymandering, the organization of voting districts to dilute or disadvantage the votes of racial minorities, is illegal under the Voting Rights Act. The Texas Tribune reports the state defended the districting, arguing that the intention was to gerrymander along party lines, not according to race. But race often coincides with party affiliation, so the court ruled they had managed to accomplish both.

Corpus Christi Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold’s District 27 was ruled by the judges to have intentionally deprived Hispanic voters "of their opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice." District 35, represented by Austin Democrat Rep. Lloyd Doggett was described as "an impermissible racial gerrymander" by the judges because it illegally used race as the predominant factor in drawing the district.

The court gave the state only three days to say whether or not the Texas legislature would take on the task of redistricting before the 2018 elections. Otherwise, "the state and its legal foes will head back to court on Sept. 5 to begin re-drawing the congressional map."

Though both parties engage in partisan gerrymandering, multiples studies have shown the Republican party has done a much better job at using redistricting to their advantage. The common assumption on the Left is that fixing partisan gerrymanders will benefit Democrats, but in the Texas case representatives of both parties may be effected.

What do you think?

Are you concerned about partisan gerrymandering? If redistricting means that your representation becomes more conservative rather than less, what does that mean for you?

Tell us in the comments and then use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Erik (HASH) Hersman via Flickr / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(82)
  • Joanne
    08/16/2017
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    Gerrymandering is wrong no matter how you look at it. Americans deserve to have their vote count, this is our right. Maybe this will encourage more people to get out there and vote!!!

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  • scot
    08/16/2017
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    Great news. This is why the entire country is being held hostage under the tyranny of the minority. Gerrymandered districts give outsized power to extremist minorities. The whole country should be redrawn by bipartisan, independent panels tasked with ensuring no politically influenced gerrymandering is allowed. All gerrymandered districts should be challenges in court. This is how we got here.

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  • Bluewitsend
    08/16/2017
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    There should be no gerrymandering period. It is a win for our democracy that Texas judges have ruled against gerrymandering!

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  • Christine
    08/16/2017
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    Neither party should benefit from gerrymandering. These laws should be strictly enforced with a consequence for states that allow this type of cheating. Can we do something about this before the next elections in 2018 and 2020?

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  • Sabriga
    08/16/2017
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    Gerrymandering should be illegal--the assorted citizens of a district should be the wild card every politician has to work with, as a representative of all people not just the ones guaranteed to vote predictably

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  • Brian
    08/16/2017
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    Gerrymandering is a practice that must and should stop and wake up Republican Party if you don't get your head out of your ass and impeach trump and his entire cabinet you will see the repercussions for many election cycles to come and just so you know 31 top historians were asked to rate the top to worst presidents of all 45 and I'm sure you can guess who tops the list as number one worst president of all time trump and we're not even a year in to his presidency

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  • Kodiwodi
    08/16/2017
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    Gerrymandering is a practice that must stop completely. Drawing up districts fairly as populations grow is one thing but redistricting each time there is an election is crap. We aren't stupid. We know what you're doing and it needs to be stopped. Thank goodness these judges stopped Texas from pulling this nonsense.

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  • Susan
    08/16/2017
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    It is the right move, a beginning to right a wrong on so many levels.

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  • Michele
    08/17/2017
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    Why is this STILL a problem?! Has anyone heard of a zip code, city limits or GRID system?! Try it! Why is it that we find (in politics) that those of us that want to govern or "serve the people" don't want to win fairly? On merit? It is really disheartening! SET it and FORGET it.... set the boundaries fairly and go about the business of GOVERNING...SOLVING real problems!

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  • Melanie
    08/16/2017
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    Finally. It is an effort to vote since my vote in Texas has never counted. Yet just by following Countable, I know I am not alone in the Lone Star state but it sure feels like it. Hopefully my vote will count. I will say being a a blue voter in a very red state has caused some laughter. The few, the brave, the blue joked about being in the closet.

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  • Mark
    08/16/2017
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    Now to get the Racist A G to enforce!!

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  • operaman
    08/16/2017
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    What it means for me? Yawn. I've seen this rerun several times. Since when can judges adjust congressional boundaries? Let's remove all boundaries and allow state citizens to elect all representatives. Well, unless judges adjust state borders.

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  • Pamela
    08/17/2017
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    It's about damn time. Every state should follow suit!!!

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  • KansasTamale
    08/17/2017
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    YES!!! NOW THE REST OF THE COUNTRY. ALL THOSE GERRYMANDERED LINES NEEX TO BE ERASED PERMANENTLY. REVERT BACK TO COUNTY LINES AND MAKE THOSE LINES PERMANENTLY UNCHANGEABLE.

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  • Abigail
    08/16/2017
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    Great news on a day where we absolutely need great news

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  • IllWill
    08/16/2017
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    It's nice to see our judicial system is finally catching on to these partisan gerrymanders. There should be a methodical review of all congressional districts throughout the country especially ones in states with Republican legislatures!

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  • PLD
    08/17/2017
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    Gerrymandering should be made illegal on every level as it undermines the basic democratic principle upon which this country is grounded.

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  • Lisa
    08/16/2017
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    Gerrymandering on both sides has to stop. State districts should be drawn Ali g existing county lines. Get rid of the electoral college and each vote counts in national elections. Also make voting requirements the same nationwide and it should be made easier for all to vote, not harder. Make presidential elections a national holiday or on a Sunday. Also limit campaigning to 6 months prior to the election.

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  • Debbie
    08/17/2017
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    Restore the Voting Rights Act! The GOP are white nationalists

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  • Rhonda
    08/17/2017
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    GREAT! Do more of this across the country!

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