redistricting | KERA News

redistricting

Graphic by Todd Wiseman

SAN ANTONIO — The state of Texas faced a healthy dose of judicial skepticism on Saturday as its lawyers laid out final arguments in a trial over whether lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minority voters in enacting current Texas House and Congressional district maps.

Mandy Blott, a psychologist living in East Austin, says she has always been somewhat plugged into politics. Her activism has ebbed and flowed through the years, but after the last presidential election, she decided to double down.

The first thing she did, she says, was look up her member of Congress.

Graphic by Todd Wiseman / The Texas Tribune

SAN ANTONIO — Eight months ahead of the 2018 primaries, Texas and its legal foes on Monday will kick off a weeklong trial that could shake up races across the state.

From Texas Standard:

For the first time in more than a decade, the Supreme Court will take up a case questioning a common practice U.S. lawmakers use to draw political maps: gerrymandering.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up an appeal over electoral districts in Wisconsin after a lower court ruled that the state's Republican-drawn map constitutes an "unconstitutional partisan gerrymander."

It's the first time in more than a decade that the nation's highest court will take up the issue of partisan gerrymandering, or drawing voting districts with the aim of strengthening one political party.

Federal Court Sets July Trial Date In Texas Redistricting Case

May 2, 2017
Graphic by Todd Wiseman

With the 2018 election cycle looming, a federal judge panel has set July 10 as the start date for a trial over the state’s House and congressional political maps.

A panel of federal judges in San Antonio found Texas lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minority voters in some areas when they drew district maps for the Texas House of Representatives.

Months ago, new Texas congressional maps for the 2018 election seemed like a pie-in-the-sky idea. The federal court looking at a lawsuit against the state’s 2011 map had sat on a ruling for years, and the case had gone unresolved for several election cycles.

Illustration by Anneke Paterson / Todd Wiseman

Some of Texas’ 36 congressional districts violate either the U.S. Constitution or the federal Voting Rights Act, a panel of federal judges ruled Friday.

Shutterstock

All 36 of Texas’ congressional seats are on the ballot this fall, but only one of those races is considered truly competitive. The vast majority of state House and Senate races aren’t particularly competitive, either. One big reason: A lot of the state's districts are drawn to give one party or the other a big majority.

In Texas Case, Supreme Court Upholds One Person, One Vote

Apr 4, 2016
Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

In a unanimous decision released Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to uphold Texas' current system for drawing legislative districts so that they are roughly equal in population.

Shutterstock

An obituary following his death June 20 called Daniel Weiser arguably the most powerful Dallas political figure who never sought elected office. Journalist Bob Ray Sanders explains in this commentary why voters in recent Dallas elections owe him a thank you.

Todd Wiseman/Bob Daemmrich / The Texas Tribune

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear a case that centers on how Texas draws its political districts, a longtime point of dispute between the state and voting rights advocates.

Texas Tribune

Once every decade, the city of Dallas reviews its charter and recommends changes in the way it governs to voters. 

Tonight, the Charter Review Commission will hold its last public meeting in Dallas City Council chambers. Members will decide May 6 which changes to put before voters in November.

Neil R (cc) flickr

The Supreme Court is allowing Texas to use congressional districts that were drawn by a lower federal court for the November election.

Neil R (cc) flickr

A federal court on Thursday rejected a Texas law that would require voters to present photo IDs to election officials before being allowed to cast ballots in November.

Credit: jmtimages (cc) flickr

A new redistricting plan approved by the Fort Worth City Council moves more than 10% of Fort Worth residents to new council districts next year, and could face a court challenge.

Credit: jmtimages (cc) flickr

A federal judge has told Republican leaders in Texas to plan as though the state's primary will be May 29 because the long-running dispute over redistricting likely won't allow for it to be held any earlier.

U.S. Circuit Court Judge Jerry Smith on Wednesday did not officially set that as the new primary date. But the judge's guidance virtually extinguishes any chance of Texas holding an April primary.

A primary in May or later risks making Texas irrelevant in choosing the Republican presidential nominee.

An attorney defending Republican-drawn voting maps in Texas has told a federal court there are "insurmountable" differences preventing a compromise with minority rights groups.

Neil R (cc) flickr

The fate of the Texas primaries remains in limbo after neither the state nor minority rights groups appeared to budge during a weekend of court-ordered negotiations.

After yesterday’s fatal shooting at DART’s Arapaho Station, the transit agency may get additional security help from local and federal officers.

There is a high likelihood Texas’ April 3 primary will be delayed. That follows the failure of groups battling over election boundaries to reach an agreement Monday as KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports.

Jon Wiley (cc) flickr

Today is the deadline for opposing sides to agree on Texas election maps. Without an agreement federal judges in San Antonio have said the April 3 primary elections will be delayed again. KERA’s Shelley Kofler says that could further diminish Texas’ role in the presidential election.

Testimony has finished in a trial determining whether new political district lines drawn by the Texas Legislature violated the federal Voting Rights Act. Attention will now quickly shift to San Antonio where another federal court is charged with drawing interim maps.

The winner for rainfall overnight in North Texas is the area around Oakland and I-30 in Fort Worth -- more than six inches reported by the National Weather Service.

Neil R (cc) flickr

A three-judge panel is moving up closing arguments in the federal court hearing in Washington on Texas political redistricting.

jmtimages (cc) flickr

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and a redistricting expert say the political district map drawn by the Texas Legislature hurts minority seats.

Jackson Lee and Theodore Arrington testified Monday in Washington as a two-week trial resumed before a three-judge federal panel. The judges are trying to determine whether the new political map drawn by the Texas Legislature to reflect 2010 U.S. Census Data violates the federal Voting Rights Act.

Jackson Lee says she finds changes to her congressional district inexplicable, although it is still considered a safe Democratic seat.

Texas Unemployment Rate Dips

Texas unemployment in December was down to 7.8%, the lowest since 2009. November’s rate was 8.1%. The Texas Workforce Commission says the big job gains were in leisure and hospitality, but government – which had generally been in layoff mode – added more than ten thousand jobs.

Lisa Givens, with the Workforce Commission says the Dallas-Plano-Irving sector is sharing lower unemployment figures, but actually LOST more jobs last month than it gained.

Testimony continues at a court hearing in Washington on whether legislative maps drawn by the Texas Legislature violate the federal Voting Rights Act.

Neil R (cc) flickr

The U.S. Supreme Court may be considering instructions that would delay Texas primary elections again. KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports Justices asked about a delay yesterday when they heard arguments over Texas’ election maps.

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