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More redistricting lawsuits filed

And to think, we don’t even have a Congressional plan yet.

A federal lawsuit filed Monday by some Texas House members blasts the use of “inaccurate” 2010 Census data in the remapping of state political jurisdictions.

The lawsuit by the Mexican American Legislative Caucus against Gov. Rick Perry and top lawmakers alleges that the census vastly undercounted Hispanics, especially in the border region. As a result, Latinos will be shortchanged in their representation at the Legislature and the State Board of Education, the lawsuit claims.

Additionally, the lawsuit calls for an end to at-large statewide election of the three Texas Railroad Commission members, replacing that system with voting by single-member places. The lawsuit says that since 1891, only three Hispanics have served as railroad commissioners — none in the past 20 years — but that “a fairly drawn single-member district can result in one district with a majority Latino citizen voting-age population.”

Alleging violations of the federal Voting Rights Act, the lawsuit says census tallies from Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Webb, El Paso, Dallas and Harris counties severely underestimated the Hispanic populations there. Bexar County wasn’t mentioned.

That “none in the past 20 years” statement about Hispanics serving as Railroad Commissioner is clearly wrong – just ask Victor Carrillo – but the overall point is well taken. Along these lines, there was briefly a plan on the TLC District Viewer page for that 3-district RRC plan. It was Plan E 124, submitted by Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer, and while it is no longer visible on that page, I received a copy of it from the TLC, which I have posted as a Google doc here. I daresay District 1, which includes El Paso, most of South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley, Bexar, and the Democratic parts of Harris (the only subdivided county in the map), could elect a Dem, while the other two would be solidly red. Perhaps this map will be little more than a historical curiosity, but there you have it. NewsTaco has more.

Elsewhere on the redistricting litigation front, State Rep. Harold Dutton says that prisoners should be counted where they came from, not where they’re incarcerated.

Dutton says the state should count prisoners at their last address, not where they are serving their time. He said if the courts agree, Harris County could get 25 seats in the Texas House. Under a House redistricting proposal, the county would only get 24 seats.

Dutton said some rural counties are awarded more population than they deserve using current prisoner population counting methods. Urban counties, meanwhile, should be able to report higher population counts, he said. Dutton said the way the state counts prisoners violates rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

I’ve noted this before. I suppose the only surprise is that it took this long for a lawsuit to be filed. The AusChron has more.

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