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Lone Star Project Report

Texas Congressional Plan Comparison

Which plans are relevant? What happens next?

To learn more about Texas congressional redistricting, see Lone Star Project reports on:

Yesterday, the Texas House passed a congressional redistricting plan that is a gross political gerrymander very similar to the Plan C141that was approved by the Republican dominated State Senate earlier this month. As forecast by the Lone Star Project, the plans would likely result in 26 safe Republican seats and only 10 Democratic seats, one fewer than the current map. To achieve such a disproportionate advantage in the congressional delegation, the GOP relentlessly attacked minority voting strength, particularly in North Texas and the South Texas/Border region. To learn more about Texas congressional redistricting, see Lone Star Project reports on: The GOP Plan 2010 Census Fast Facts Opportunity for Fairness

Even though all four of the new districts Texas gained as a result of the 2010 census were due to the increase in Texas’ Hispanic and African American populations, the Republican plans reduce the number of districts where minority voters have the opportunity to elect their candidate of choice from 11 out of 32 districts (34%) to only 10 out of 36 districts (28%).

However, by so blatantly ignoring minority population growth and minority voting strength, the GOP has provided the opportunity for minority advocacy groups and their allies to win a fairer plan in the federal courts.

Important Litigation Notes:

  • Plans C122 & C123 are regional proposals made by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF). While the MALDEF proposals are not included in the comparison of statewide plans, MALDEF’s proposals will be examined and taken quite seriously during preclearance and other litigation. MALDEF is an important and influential voice in any ongoing litigation.
  • Other important litigants will likely include Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC), NAACP, plaintiffs affiliated with the Texas Justice Fund, some Texas Democratic Members of Congress and, of course, Governor Perry, Greg Abbott and the Secretary of State who will use taxpayer funds to defend and protect the Republican plan.
  • Congressional redistricting lawsuits are already pending in Federal Courts in San Antonio, Austin and Sherman. It is likely that the cases will be consolidated before substantive action is taken.
  • Finally, prior to any action in the Federal Courts in Texas, the State must seek preclearance or federal approval of the plan under Section 5 of the U.S. Voting Rights Act. It is expected that the Republican leadership will bypass the Department of Justice and seek preclearance from the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC. The DC Court is not necessarily a more favorable venue for the Republicans, but it will significantly increase the litigation costs for those opposing the State plan. Of course, Texas taxpayers are forced to pick up the large legal tab run up by the Republican leadership.

Major Congressional Plans Proposed as of June 15, 2011

Several alternative plans have been put into the legislative record to provide the Federal Courts with evidence that the GOP map does not adequately reflect minority voting strength in Texas in violation of the U.S. Voting Rights Act. A comparison of the major plans is provided below. All these plans can be viewed at Texas Legislative Council redistricting DistrictViewer.

Alternatives to the Republican Plan (Click link to see the maps)

  • Plan C121 – Rep. Veasey/Sen. West Fair Texas Statewide Proposal
  • Plan C166 – Rep. Dukes Statewide Proposal Plans
  • Plans C164 – Rep. Martinez Fischer Statewide Proposals on behalf of MALC
  • Plan C154 & C155 - Rep. Turner Proposal on behalf of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus
  • Plan C142 – Rep. Alonzo Statewide Proposal
  • Plan C126 – Rep. Alvarado Statewide Proposal - ammendment to Veasey/West plan

 

Congressional Plan Racial Comparison

Plan Anglo Controlled Districts Hispanic Opportunity Districts AA Opportunity Districts Minority Coalition Districts
Current Plan -32 Seats (C100) 21 7 3 1
Rep. Solomon- GOP (C182) 26 7 3 0
Rep Veasey/Sen. West - Fair Texas (C121) 23* 9 4 0
Rep. Dukes (C166) 22 8 3 3
Rep. Martinez-Fischer - MALC 1 (C164) 21 10 3 2
Rep. Turner - Black Caucus 1 (C154) 23* 7 3 3
Rep. Turner - Black Caucus 2 (C155) 24* 8 3 1
Rep. Alonzo (C142) 21 10 3 2
Rep. Alvarado (C126) 22* 9 4 1

*One of these districts is wholly within Travis County and the majority Anglo population votes in coalition with minorities
-Anglo Controlled - District where primary and general elections are controlled by Anglos. 
-Hispanic Opportunity - District where primary and general are controlled by Hispanics. 
-African American Opportunity - District where primary and general are controlled by African Americans. 
-Minority Coalition - District where primary and general are controlled by minority voters in coalition. 

Congressional Plan Political Comparison

Plan Safe Republican Marginal Republican Safe Democratic Marginal Democratic
Current Plan -32 Seats 21 0 9 2
Rep. Solomon- GOP (C182) 26 0 10 0
Rep Veasey/Sen. West - Fair Texas (C121) 22 0 14 0
Rep. Dukes (C166) 22 1 11 2
Rep. Martinez-Fischer - MALC 1 (C164) 21 0 14 1
Rep. Turner - Black Caucus 1 (C154) 22 0 13 1
Rep. Turner - Black Caucus 2 (C155) 22 0 13 1
Rep. Alonzo (C142) 21 0 14 1
Rep. Alvarado (C126) 21 0 15 0

-Safe Republican - Bill White 42.9% or less
-Marginal Republican - Bill White 46%-49.5 
-Safe Democratic - Bill White 53% or higher 
-Marginal Democratic - Bill White 49.6%-52.9