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Texas A&M University-Kingsville professor explains redistricting lawsuit filed against Texas

Travis Braidwood says a big downside of this is voters become confused. One day they’re in one district and the next in a completely different one.

The U.S. Department of Justice is filing a lawsuit against Texas over redistricting and its newly drawn maps for congress and the state house.

3News spoke to one associate professor at Texas A&M Kingsville on this lawsuit. He explained that as a result of the new redistricting map take for example in North Texas, they now have two entirely new districts and the big complaint here is that these districts are dipping into more urban areas that tend to be more racially diverse.

Redistricting happens every 10 years after the census. Here in the lone star state the population has grown with an additional four million people which means district boundaries have to be redrawn so that the populations of each of these districts is as equal as possible.

Braidwood says the Department of Justice is looking at whether or not Texas or any other state has redrawn district boundaries in a way that discriminates against people of color.

“This section two claim is just that. That in redrawing the district boundaries Texas has ignored, has looked at rather the racial characteristics of the population in order to more accurately carve out safe districts for certain elected officials,” said Braidwood.

Braidwood says in 2013 there was a provision in the voting rights act that required Texas and other states to have their redrawing of boundaries pre-approved by the Department of Justice. But the supreme court struck that down and this is the first time we’ve ever had a redrawing of district boundaries without that preclearance.

“Now the department of Justice has to be reactionary, so they’re waiting for the states to redraw their boundaries analyzing those state lines,” said Braidwood. “And now the burden is on the department of justice to show that there was evidence that Texas lawmakers namely the Texas House and Senate actively looked at race or ethnicity as a factor in redrawing these boundaries and that that was the cause for the redrawing.”

Braidwood says a big downside of this is voters become confused. One day they’re in one district and the next in a completely different one.

Braidwood does say these things move pretty quickly because there's a time crunch with an election coming in 2022. But he adds we might see that if the courts don't hurry this through  we could end up with these current districts.

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