The U.S. Justice Department has given “pre-clearance” to the new Dallas redistricting map. KERA’s BJ Austin says that could signal the start of a court battle.
City officials say the Voting Rights Act “pre-clearance” for the election district map means it is not retrogressive. It does not reduce minority representation on the city council. Council member Scott Griggs, who voted against the plan, says the ruling does not deal with the issue of “discrimination.”
Griggs: Pre-clearance only asks essentially is a protected class worse off, or retrogressed, versus the last benchmark map. And the current benchmark map has three Hispanic seats. A pre-cleared redistricting plan can be non-retrogressive, but discriminatory.
There are three sure Latino seats and a likely fourth in the Dallas plan. Hispanics have promised to sue. They say the 2010 Census population figures dictate “five” Hispanic council districts.
Mayor Mike Rawlings, in a statement, says the plan increases the opportunities for minority representation. The Mayor says expects to a majority of minority council members at City Hall in the future. The next council elections are in 2013.