Ken Paxton

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Texas Seeks Preclearance for States Redistricting Plans

WASHINGTON, DC The Texas Attorney General’s Office today sought preclearance for the State’s redistricting plans that were recently enacted by the Texas Legislature. Today’s preclearance submission was filed with both the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and provided to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). By informally submitting the State’s redistricting plans along with relevant documents and data about those plans to DOJ, the State is attempting to ensure that the Civil Rights Division and Attorney General Eric Holder have the information necessary to confirm that Texas has fully satisfied the Voting Rights Act’s requirements and is therefore entitled to preclearance.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 population data, Texas is now home to more than 25 million residents. Because of the State’s rapid population growth, Texas will receive four additional representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives increasing the State’s U.S. House of Representatives delegation from 32 to 36 members. The congressional redistricting plan submitted to the federal court and DOJ reflects this population change.

In addition to submitting the State’s new congressional districts for preclearance, the Attorney General’s Office also submitted Texas Senate, Texas House of Representatives and State Board of Education redistricting maps. All four redistricting maps were passed by the 82nd Legislature earlier this year.

Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires that certain states including Texas submit changes to their electoral processes and district maps for preclearance. Under the Act, either DOJ or a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has the legal authority to preclear Texas’ redistricting plans. The State’s filings with the federal court and DOJ reflect the first legal step in the process toward implementing the Texas Legislature’s new district maps. Additional updates on the redistricting process will be available at as they develop.