Republicans in Texas keep trying to find new ways to rig the electoral system, but the courts are on to them. The latest attempt is a version of vote packing called Optimal Hispanic Republican Voting Strength. Texas Republicans redrew some districts “to include a majority of Latinos with low voter turnout histories and merged with a minority of high-voting Republican voters to skew electoral outcomes.”
Texas’ western district court saw the scheme for what it is – another unconstitutional attempt to discriminate against Latinos by diluting the strength of their votes. In its ruling, the majority said:
“The Court finds that map drawers improperly used race with an intent to dilute Latino voting strength by wasting Latino votes in HD103 and HD104, and creating a more Anglo HD105 to protect the Anglo Republican incumbent in the general election,” Garcia and Rodriguez wrote.
Judge Jerry Smith, who was “on loan” from the 5th Circuit, resurrected current governor and former state Attorney-General Greg Abbott’s perennial argument – namely that this was nothing more than an attempt to redraw the map for purely partisan advantage.
Naturally, the current Attorney-General disagreed with the majority and latched on to Judge Smith’s dissenting opinion as a basis to appeal.
One would think Republicans would get the message after six rulings against schemes to either disenfranchise minorities with an unconstitutional Voter ID law or minimize the weight of their votes by redrawing the electoral map. All were ruled discriminatory and therefore unconstitutional.
Yet, Texas Republicans intend to continue a battle that has already gone on for years – despite multiple rulings that exposed the racist character of their policies on voting rights. After all, with fellow vote suppressor Jeff Sessions running the DOJ, Paxton won’t have to worry about the Feds stepping in to defend voting rights. And with a Justice Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, perhaps Paxton is hoping this time, the Supreme Court will see things his way.
One would think Republicans would grasp, as noted by Progress Texas in a press release obtained by PoliticusUSA the state’s “diversity is a strength and today the courts have ruled that Republican will no longer attempt to turn it into a weakness.”
But that would mean Republicans would have to compete in free and fair elections, where all votes have equal weight – regardless of the voter’s race.