Texas’ legislative districts could look very different by the time Election Day rolls around if the U.S. Supreme Court decides lawmakers gerrymandered districts when they re-drew the map in 2011.
“This is becoming more of an issue that the courts are having to deal with on a repetitive basis,” said KRIS 6 News Political Analyst Dr. David Smith.
At issue, two congressional districts and state house districts in four counties. Among them, the 27th Congressional district as well as the 32nd and 34th Texas State house districts. All serve Nueces County, but redrawing the districts now could prove problematic.
“If you redraw those districts, how many districts around those are you going to have to redraw in order to make them equitable?” asked Smith.
The U.S. District Court in San Antonio argues the current map is far from equitable. The court ruled Hispanic voters in the 27th Congressional District were diluted by redrawing them with predominantly white areas around San Antonio and Austin. It also ruled Hispanic voters were packed into house district 34, leaving District 32 with less people and less diverse.
“There is a valid argument, but you have to be very careful,” said Smith. At this point is drug on for so many years, the argument could be made to change the maps of these districts at this point would only make them valid for one election.”
In a statement, District 34 representative Abel Herrero says he supports redrawing the maps.
“It is my hope the U.S. Supreme Court will support a redrawing of the maps to ensure a fair system where all voters receive an equal voice in our government,” Rep. Herrero said. “Previous rulings have found that Coastal Bend residents have not had an equal say in who represents them. I remain optimistic that the Supreme Court Justices will agree with lower court rulings, and call for a more fair voting system for all Texans.”
KRIS 6 News also reached out to District 32 Rep. Todd Hunter, but messages to him were un-returned.
The Texas case will be the third heard by the Supreme Court, joining similar cases from Maryland and Wisconsin. If the lower court’s verdict is upheld, other states considering gerrymandering cases may move forward.