Redistricting in Texas

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Redistricting in Texas
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General information
Current legislative control:
Republican
Congressional process:
State legislature
State legislature process:
State legislature[1]
Total seats
Congress: 36
State Senate: 31
State House: 150
Redistricting in other states
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RedistrictingState-by-state redistricting proceduresState legislative and congressional redistricting after the 2010 Census
Redistricting is the process by which new congressional and state legislative district boundaries are drawn. Each of Texas' 36 United States Representatives and 181 state legislators are elected from political divisions called districts. United States Senators are not elected by districts, but by the states at large. District lines are redrawn every 10 years following completion of the United States Census. The federal government stipulates that districts must have nearly equal populations and must not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity.

Redistricting is a fiercely-contested issue, primarily due to gerrymandering, the practice of drawing district lines to favor one political party, individual or constituency over another. Two areas of contention include the following:

Competitiveness: Political parties or incumbents sometimes draw district lines for their benefit at the expense of proportionality and fair representation. Some argue that this practice contributes to the present lack of competitive elections. Uncompetitive elections can in turn discourage participation.[2]
Race and ethnicity: District lines sometimes minimize the influence of minority voters by disproportionately consolidating them within single districts or splitting them across several districts. These practices are examples of "packing" and "cracking," respectively.[2][3][4][5]
In Texas, congressional and state legislative district boundaries are drawn by the state legislature. If the legislature fails to approve a state legislative redistricting plan, a backup commission must draw the lines. Texas' congressional and state legislative district maps are the subject of ongoing controversy and litigation.

Background

See also: Redistricting

Federal law stipulates that all districts, whether congressional or state legislative, must meet two primary criteria.

  1. Equal population: According to All About Redistricting, federal law "requires that each district have about the same population: each federal district within a state must have about the same number of people [and] each state district within a state must have about the same number of people." Specific standards for determining whether populations are sufficiently equal vary for congressional and state legislative districts. See below for further details.[6]
  2. Race and ethnicity: Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 states that district lines must not dilute the voting power of racial or ethnic minority groups. This provision "applies whether the denial is intentional, or an unintended end result. Courts essentially test whether the way that districts are drawn takes decisive political power away from a cohesive minority bloc otherwise at risk for discrimination."[6]

In most states, the legislatures are primarily responsible for both congressional and state legislative redistricting. However, reformers argue that partisan legislators are incapable of establishing fair district lines because they have a vested interest in the outcome. Instead, reformers advocate using different redistricting processes, including independent commissions or electronic methods. Opponents of these reforms argue that alternative processes are less accountable to voters, subject to partisan abuse, and perhaps unconstitutional.

State requirements

"Gerrymandering"

In addition to the federal criteria noted above, individual states may impose additional requirements on redistricting. Common state-level redistricting criteria are listed below. Typically, these requirements are quite flexible.

  1. Contiguity refers to the principle that all areas within a district should be "physically adjacent." A total of 49 states require that districts of at least one state legislative chamber be contiguous. A total of 23 states require that congressional districts meet contiguity requirements.[6][7]
  2. Compactness refers to the general principle that "the distance between all parts of a district" ought to be minimized. The United States Supreme Court has "construed compactness to indicate that residents have some sort of cultural cohesion in common." A total of 37 states "require their legislative districts to be reasonably compact." A total of 18 states impose similar requirements for congressional districts.[6][7]
  3. A community of interest is a "group of people in a geographical area, such as a specific region or neighborhood, who have common political, social or economic interests." A total of 24 states require that the maintenance of communities of interest be considered in the drawing of state legislative districts. A total of 13 states impose similar requirements for congressional districts.[6][7]
  4. A total of 42 states require that state legislative district lines be drawn to account for political boundaries (e.g., the limits of counties, cities and towns). A total of 19 states require that similar considerations be made in the drawing of congressional districts.[6][7]

Congressional redistricting

According to Article 1, Section 4, of the United States Constitution, the states and their legislatures have primary authority in determining the "times, places and manner" of congressional elections. Congress may also pass laws regulating congressional elections. Section 4 explicitly vests the authority to regulate congressional elections with the legislative branches of the states and the federal government and not with the executive or judicial branches.[8][9]

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.[10]

—United States Constitution

Article 1, Section 2, of the United States Constitution stipulates that congressional representatives be apportioned to the states on the basis of population. There are 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives. Each state is allotted a portion of these seats based on the size of its population relative to the other states. Consequently, a state may gain seats in the House if its population grows, or lose seats if its population decreases, relative to populations in other states. In 1964, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Wesberry v. Sanders that the populations of House districts must be equal "as nearly as practicable."[11][12][6]

The equal population requirement for congressional districts is strict. According to All About Redistricting, "any district with more or fewer people than the average (also known as the 'ideal' population), must be specifically justified by a consistent state policy. And even consistent policies that cause a 1 percent spread from largest to smallest district will likely be unconstitutional."[6]

State legislative redistricting

The United States Constitution is silent on the issue of state legislative redistricting. In the mid-1960s, the United States Supreme Court issued a series of rulings in an effort to clarify standards for state legislative redistricting. In Reynolds v. Sims, the court ruled that "the Equal Protection Clause [of the United States Constitution] demands no less than substantially equal state legislative representation for all citizens, of all places as well as of all races." According to All About Redistricting, "it has become accepted that a [redistricting] plan will be constitutionally suspect if the largest and smallest districts [within a state or jurisdiction] are more than 10 percent apart."

State process

See also: State-by-state redistricting procedures

In 37 states, legislatures are primarily responsible for drawing congressional district lines. Seven states have only one congressional district each, so congressional redistricting is not necessary. Four states employ independent commissions to draw the district maps. In two states, politician commissions draw congressional district lines.

State legislative district lines are primarily the province of the state legislatures themselves in 37 states. In seven states, politician commissions draw state legislative district lines. In the remaining six states, independent commissions draw the lines.[13]

In Texas, both congressional and state legislative district boundaries are drawn by the Texas State Legislature. These lines are subject to veto by the governor.[14]

If the state legislature is unable to approve a state legislative redistricting plan, a backup commission must draw the lines. This backup commission, established in 1948, comprises the following members:[14]

  1. Lieutenant governor
  2. Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives
  3. Attorney general
  4. State comptroller
  5. Commissioner of the General Land Office

The Texas Constitution requires that state legislative districts be contiguous and "that they preserve whole counties when population mandates permit."[14]

District maps

Congressional districts

See also: United States congressional delegations from Texas
Click the above image to enlarge it.
Source: The National Atlas of the United States of America

Texas comprises 36 congressional districts. The map to the right depicts Texas' congressional district lines as drawn following the 2010 United States Census. The table below lists Texas' current House representatives.

Texas delegation to the United States House of Representatives
NamePartyPositionAssumed officeTerm ends
Al GreenDemocratic PartyDistrict 9 2005January 3, 2017
Beto O'RourkeDemocratic PartyDistrict 16 2013January 3, 2017
Bill FloresRepublican PartyDistrict 17 2011January 3, 2017
Blake FarentholdRepublican PartyDistrict 27 2011January 3, 2017
Brian BabinRepublican PartyDistrict 36 2015January 3, 2017
Eddie Bernice JohnsonDemocratic PartyDistrict 30 1993January 3, 2017
Filemon VelaDemocratic PartyDistrict 34 2013January 3, 2017
Gene GreenDemocratic PartyDistrict 29 1993January 3, 2017
Henry CuellarDemocratic PartyDistrict 28 2005January 3, 2017
Jeb HensarlingRepublican PartyDistrict 5 2003January 3, 2017
Joaquin CastroDemocratic PartyDistrict 20 2013January 3, 2017
Joe BartonRepublican PartyDistrict 6 1985January 3, 2017
John CarterRepublican PartyDistrict 31 2003January 3, 2017
John CulbersonRepublican PartyDistrict 7 2001January 3, 2017
John RatcliffeRepublican PartyDistrict 4 2015January 3, 2017
Kay GrangerRepublican PartyDistrict 12 1997January 3, 2017
Kenny MarchantRepublican PartyDistrict 24 2005January 3, 2017
Kevin BradyRepublican PartyDistrict 8 1997January 3, 2017
Lamar SmithRepublican PartyDistrict 21 1987January 3, 2017
Lloyd DoggettDemocratic PartyDistrict 35 1995January 3, 2017
Louis B. "Louie" Gohmert Jr.Republican PartyDistrict 1 2005January 3, 2017
Mac ThornberryRepublican PartyDistrict 13 1995January 3, 2017
Marc VeaseyDemocratic PartyDistrict 33 2013January 3, 2017
Michael C. BurgessRepublican PartyDistrict 26 2003January 3, 2017
Michael McCaulRepublican PartyDistrict 10 2005January 3, 2017
Mike ConawayRepublican PartyDistrict 11 2005January 3, 2017
Pete OlsonRepublican PartyDistrict 22 2009January 3, 2017
Pete SessionsRepublican PartyDistrict 32 2003January 3, 2017
Randy NeugebauerRepublican PartyDistrict 19 2003January 3, 2017
Randy WeberRepublican PartyDistrict 14 2013January 3, 2017
Roger WilliamsRepublican PartyDistrict 25 2013January 3, 2017
Rubén HinojosaDemocratic PartyDistrict 15 1997January 3, 2017
Sam JohnsonRepublican PartyDistrict 3 1991January 3, 2017
Sheila Jackson LeeDemocratic PartyDistrict 18 1995January 3, 2017
Ted PoeRepublican PartyDistrict 2 2005January 3, 2017
Will HurdRepublican PartyDistrict 23 2015January 3, 2017

State legislative maps

See also: Texas State Senate and Texas House of Representatives

Texas comprises 31 state Senate districts and 150 state House districts. State senators are elected every four years in partisan elections. State representatives are elected every two years in partisan elections. To access the current state Senate district map, click here. To access the current state House map, click here.

Competitiveness

There are conflicting opinions regarding the correlation between partisan gerrymandering and electoral competitiveness. Some critics contend that the dominant redistricting methods result in a lack of competitive elections. Jennifer Clark, a political science professor at the University of Houston, said, "The redistricting process has important consequences for voters. In some states, incumbent legislators work together to protect their own seats, which produces less competition in the political system. Voters may feel as though they do not have a meaningful alternative to the incumbent legislator. Legislators who lack competition in their districts have less incentive to adhere to their constituents’ opinions."[15]

Some question the impact of redistricting on electoral competitiveness. In 2006, Emory University professors Alan Abramowitz, Brad Alexander and Matthew Gunning wrote, "[Some] studies have concluded that redistricting has a neutral or positive effect on competition. ... [It] is often the case that partisan redistricting has the effect of reducing the safety of incumbents, thereby making elections more competitive."[16]

The individuals involved in redistricting must balance the desire for increased competitiveness with other principles that might conflict with that goal, such as compactness, contiguity, and maintaining communities of interest. For instance, it may at times be impossible to draw a competitive district that is both compact and preserves communities of interest.

In 2011, James Cottrill, a professor of political science at Santa Clara University, published a study of the effect of "non-legislative approaches" to redistricting on the competitiveness of congressional elections. Cottrill found that "particular types of [non-legislative approaches] encourage the appearance in congressional elections of experienced and well-financed challengers." Cottrill cautioned, however, that non-legislative approaches "contribute neither to decreased vote percentages when incumbents win elections nor to a greater probability of their defeat."[17]

Congress

CongressLogo.png
See also: Margin of victory analysis for the 2014 congressional elections

In 2014, Ballotpedia analyzed the margins of victory in all 435 contests for the United States House of Representatives. Ballotpedia found that the average margin of victory was 35.8 percent, compared to 31.8 percent in 2012. An election is deemed competitive if it was won by a margin of victory of 5 percent or less. A total of 318 elections (73 percent of all House elections) were won by margins of victory of 20 percent or more. Only 26 elections (6 percent of the total) were won by margins of victory of 5 percent or less. See the table below for further details.

Note: The data below are provided only for informational purposes. It should be noted that there are conflicting opinions regarding the correlation between redistricting and competitiveness. A variety of factors at the local, state and federal levels can impact electoral competitiveness.

All but two of Texas' 36 elections for the United States House of Representatives were won by margins of victory of 20 percent or greater. The smallest margin of victory occurred in District 23, where Will Hurd (R) won by 2.1 percent. The largest margin of victory occurred in District 4, where John Ratcliffe was unopposed and won with 100 percent of the vote. The average margin of victory in Texas was 48.4 percent. See the table below for full details.

Electoral margins of victory in 2014 United States House of Representatives elections, Texas
District Winner Margin of victory Total votes cast Top opponent
District 1 Republican Party Louie Gohmert 54.9% 148,560 Shirley McKellar
District 2 Republican Party Ted Poe 38.3% 150,026 Niko Letsos
District 3 Republican Party Sam Johnson 64% 138,280 Paul Blair
District 4 Republican Party John Ratcliffe 100% 115,085 Unopposed
District 5 Republican Party Jeb Hensarling 70.7% 104,262 Ken Ashby
District 6 Republican Party Joe Barton 24.7% 150,996 David Cozad
District 7 Republican Party John Culberson 28.7% 143,219 James Cargas
District 8 Republican Party Kevin Brady 78.6% 140,013 Ken Petty
District 9 Democratic Party Al Green 81.6% 86,003 Johnny Johnson
District 10 Republican Party Michael McCaul 28% 176,460 Tawana Walter-Cadien
District 11 Republican Party Mike Conaway 80.5% 119,574 Ryan Lange
District 12 Republican Party Kay Granger 45% 158,730 Mark Greene
District 13 Republican Party Mac Thornberry 71.5% 131,451 Mike Minter
District 14 Republican Party Randy Weber 25.8% 145,698 Donald Brown
District 15 Democratic Party Ruben Hinojosa 10.7% 90,184 Eddie Zamora
District 16 Democratic Party Beto O'Rourke 38.3% 73,105 Corey Roen
District 17 Republican Party Bill Flores 32.2% 132,865 Nick Haynes
District 18 Democratic Party Sheila Jackson Lee 47% 106,010 Sean Seibert
District 19 Republican Party Randy Neugebauer 58.7% 115,825 Neal Marchbanks
District 20 Democratic Party Joaquin Castro 51.3% 87,964 Jeffrey Blunt
District 21 Republican Party Lamar Smith 57.1% 188,996 Antonio Diaz
District 22 Republican Party Pete Olson 35% 151,566 Frank Briscoe
District 23 Republican Party Will Hurd 2.1% 115,429 Pete Gallego
District 24 Republican Party Kenny Marchant 32.7% 144,073 Patrick McGehearty
District 25 Republican Party Roger Williams 24% 177,883 Marco Montoya
District 26 Republican Party Michael Burgess 65.3% 141,470 Mark Boler
District 27 Republican Party Blake Farenthold 29.9% 131,047 Wesley Reed
District 28 Democratic Party Henry Cuellar 68.8% 76,136 Will Aikens
District 29 Democratic Party Gene Green 79.1% 46,143 James Stanczak
District 30 Democratic Party Eddie Bernice Johnson 81.2% 105,793 Max Koch, III
District 31 Republican Party John Carter 32.1% 143,028 Louie Minor
District 32 Republican Party Pete Sessions 26.4% 156,096 Frank Perez
District 33 Democratic Party Marc Veasey 73% 50,592 Jason Reeves
District 34 Democratic Party Filemon Vela 20.9% 79,877 Larry Smith
District 35 Democratic Party Lloyd Doggett 29.2% 96,225 Susan Narvaiz
District 36 Republican Party Brian Babin 53.9% 133,842 Michael Cole

State legislatures

See also: Margin of victory in state legislative elections

In 2014, Ballotpedia conducted a study of competitive districts in 44 state legislative chambers between 2010 and 2012. Ballotpedia found that there were 61 fewer competitive general election contests in 2012 than in 2010. Of the 44 chambers studied, 25 experienced a net loss in the number of competitive elections. A total of 17 experienced a net increase. In total, 16.2 percent of the 3,842 legislative contests studied saw competitive general elections in 2010. In 2012, only 14.6 percent of the contests studied saw competitive general elections. An election was considered competitive if it was won by a margin of victory of 5 percent or less. An election was considered mildly competitive if it was won by a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent. For more information regarding this report, including methodology, click here.

Note: These data are provided only for informational purposes. It should be noted that there are conflicting opinions regarding the correlation between redistricting and competitiveness. A variety of factors at the local, state and federal levels can impact electoral competitiveness.

There were four competitive elections for the Texas House of Representatives in 2012, compared to 12 in 2010. There were five mildly competitive state House races in 2012, compared to seven in 2010. This amounted to a net loss of 10 competitive elections.

Partisan composition

The tables below summarize the current partisan composition of the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas State Senate.

House

SLP badge.png
Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 52
     Republican Party 98
Total 150

Senate

Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 11
     Republican Party 20
Total 31

Race and ethnicity

See also: Majority-minority districts

Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 mandates that electoral district lines cannot be drawn in such a manner as to "improperly dilute minorities' voting power."

No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.[10]

—Voting Rights Act of 1965[18]

States and other political subdivisions may create majority-minority districts in order to comply with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. A majority-minority district is a district in which minority groups comprise a majority of the district's total population. As of 2013, Texas was home to 15 congressional majority-minority districts.[3][4][5]

Proponents of majority-minority districts maintain that these districts are a necessary hindrance to the practice of "cracking." Cracking occurs when a constituency is divided between several districts in order to prevent it from achieving a majority in any one district. In addition, supporters argue that the drawing of majority-minority districts has resulted in an increased number of minority representatives in state legislatures and Congress.[3][4][5]

Critics, meanwhile, contend that the establishment of majority-minority districts results in "packing." Packing occurs when a constituency or voting group is placed within a single district, thereby minimizing its influence in other districts. Because minority groups tend to vote Democratic, critics argue that majority-minority districts ultimately present an unfair advantage to Republicans by consolidating Democratic votes into a smaller number of districts.[3][4][5]

Demographics

See also: Demographics of congressional districts as of 2013 and Demographics of congressional districts as of 2013 (as percentages)

The tables below provide demographic information for each of Texas' congressional districts as of 2013. At that time, the population of the largest congressional district, District 22, totaled 725,946, and the population of the smallest, District 13, totaled 699,400, which represented a difference of 3.8 percent.[19]

Demographics of Texas' congressional districts (as percentages)
District Hispanic White Black Native
American
Asian Pacific
Islander
Other Multiple
races
Texas 37.90% 44.81% 11.53% 0.26% 3.92% 0.07% 0.13% 1.37%
District 1 15.9% 64% 17.8% 0.3% 1% 0% 0% 1%
District 2 31.2% 50.2% 9.7% 0.3% 6.9% 0.2% 0.3% 1.4%
District 3 14.7% 61.4% 8.5% 0.4% 12.5% 0.1% 0.2% 2.2%
District 4 12.4% 73.4% 10.7% 0.6% 0.9% 0.1% 0.1% 1.8%
District 5 25.9% 56.2% 14.1% 0.4% 1.8% 0.1% 0.1% 1.4%
District 6 21.2% 53.3% 18.3% 0.3% 4.9% 0% 0.1% 1.8%
District 7 29.6% 46.5% 12.5% 0.1% 9.6% 0% 0.2% 1.5%
District 8 20.4% 67.5% 8.2% 0.1% 2.2% 0% 0.1% 1.4%
District 9 37.3% 12% 38.3% 0.1% 10.9% 0% 0.2% 1.2%
District 10 26.6% 56.7% 10% 0.2% 4.8% 0% 0.2% 1.5%
District 11 34.4% 59.7% 3.5% 0.3% 0.8% 0% 0.1% 1.1%
District 12 21.3% 65.4% 8% 0.5% 3.1% 0.1% 0.1% 1.7%
District 13 24.7% 66.1% 5.2% 0.5% 1.7% 0.1% 0.1% 1.5%
District 14 22.7% 52.7% 20% 0.3% 2.8% 0% 0.2% 1.3%
District 15 80.5% 16.1% 1.6% 0.1% 1.2% 0% 0% 0.5%
District 16 79.5% 14.9% 3.2% 0.2% 1.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.8%
District 17 23.6% 57% 13.1% 0.3% 4.4% 0% 0.1% 1.4%
District 18 39.2% 16.6% 39.4% 0.1% 3.6% 0.1% 0.2% 0.9%
District 19 34.6% 56.6% 5.7% 0.3% 1.2% 0.1% 0.2% 1.4%
District 20 68.1% 23.2% 4.6% 0.1% 2.6% 0.1% 0.2% 1.2%
District 21 27.2% 64.8% 3% 0.3% 2.7% 0.1% 0.1% 1.7%
District 22 24.7% 44.2% 12.6% 0.2% 16.4% 0% 0.1% 1.7%
District 23 69.5% 25.1% 2.9% 0.4% 1.2% 0% 0.1% 0.8%
District 24 23.5% 52.4% 10.3% 0.3% 11.1% 0.3% 0.2% 2%
District 25 18.2% 69.6% 7.1% 0.4% 2.4% 0.3% 0.1% 1.9%
District 26 17.4% 67.9% 6.7% 0.3% 5% 0.1% 0.2% 2.5%
District 27 50% 42.2% 5.2% 0.1% 1.3% 0% 0.1% 1.1%
District 28 76.9% 16.9% 4.2% 0.1% 0.9% 0% 0.1% 0.9%
District 29 76.6% 11.4% 9.6% 0.2% 1.7% 0% 0.1% 0.4%
District 30 35.5% 17.1% 44.1% 0.1% 1.8% 0% 0.1% 1.2%
District 31 22.8% 59.1% 10.8% 0.3% 4.1% 0.2% 0.1% 2.6%
District 32 26% 51.6% 11.9% 0.2% 7.6% 0.1% 0.2% 2.5%
District 33 65.5% 15.7% 15.7% 0.2% 1.9% 0% 0.2% 0.7%
District 34 82.8% 15% 1.2% 0.1% 0.6% 0% 0.1% 0.2%
District 35 63.2% 24.9% 9% 0.2% 1.3% 0.1% 0.1% 1.2%
District 36 21.9% 64.6% 9.2% 0.4% 2.4% 0.1% 0.1% 1.3%
Source: United States Census Bureau, "2009-2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates," accessed April 8, 2015
Demographics of Texas' congressional districts
District Hispanic White Black Native
American
Asian Pacific
Islander
Other Multiple
races
Total
Texas 9,717,727 11,488,269 2,956,545 66,100 1,005,797 18,011 34,413 352,511 25,639,373
District 1 111,753 449,377 125,002 1,995 6,844 148 241 6,926 702,286
District 2 222,708 358,243 68,949 2,168 49,331 1,118 1,907 9,798 714,222
District 3 106,788 445,374 61,334 2,597 90,852 460 1,619 15,927 724,951
District 4 87,413 517,554 75,282 4,484 6,280 736 512 12,569 704,830
District 5 183,048 396,458 99,379 2,544 12,870 593 914 9,836 705,642
District 6 151,490 380,550 131,002 2,461 34,761 134 1,001 12,539 713,938
District 7 209,330 329,531 88,304 990 67,907 168 1,637 10,518 708,385
District 8 147,440 487,256 59,334 991 15,678 294 820 9,860 721,673
District 9 264,403 84,844 271,328 1,040 77,595 206 1,105 8,199 708,720
District 10 191,661 408,686 71,911 1,383 34,598 159 1,573 10,986 720,957
District 11 244,809 424,794 25,189 2,458 5,449 111 567 7,617 710,994
District 12 151,941 467,119 56,973 3,390 21,913 685 775 11,943 714,739
District 13 172,962 462,492 36,121 3,836 12,226 396 631 10,736 699,400
District 14 159,845 371,041 141,051 1,846 19,872 196 1,204 8,907 703,962
District 15 574,142 114,840 11,434 647 8,297 51 117 3,297 712,825
District 16 564,758 106,117 22,663 1,579 8,139 888 726 5,486 710,356
District 17 167,784 404,576 92,932 1,931 31,194 218 590 10,285 709,510
District 18 278,548 117,946 279,583 732 25,743 470 1,098 6,287 710,407
District 19 243,284 397,953 39,851 2,145 8,553 491 1,242 9,832 703,351
District 20 485,954 165,701 33,118 794 18,631 367 1,121 8,290 713,976
District 21 194,584 462,755 21,399 1,891 19,621 673 966 12,400 714,289
District 22 179,227 321,162 91,569 1,228 119,235 58 966 12,501 725,946
District 23 496,114 178,874 20,454 2,621 8,817 203 528 5,831 713,442
District 24 169,366 377,350 74,348 1,869 79,910 2,079 1,484 14,387 720,793
District 25 130,685 500,171 51,187 2,791 17,404 2,191 764 13,529 718,722
District 26 126,102 492,154 48,256 2,179 36,399 468 1,575 18,081 725,214
District 27 351,970 297,563 36,364 837 9,292 331 616 7,517 704,490
District 28 546,923 120,339 29,576 958 6,066 260 708 6,044 710,874
District 29 547,781 81,540 68,934 1,107 12,207 50 1,067 2,805 715,491
District 30 251,703 121,170 313,043 1,014 12,990 235 803 8,517 709,475
District 31 163,832 425,259 77,451 1,947 29,730 1,648 1,063 19,018 719,948
District 32 184,717 365,690 84,092 1,501 53,581 613 1,274 17,690 709,158
District 33 463,198 111,147 111,059 1,150 13,772 124 1,222 5,108 706,780
District 34 584,295 106,105 8,732 501 3,910 31 529 1,755 705,858
District 35 451,569 178,050 63,998 1,355 9,226 759 739 8,420 714,116
District 36 155,600 458,488 65,343 3,140 16,904 399 709 9,070 709,653
Source: United States Census Bureau, "2009-2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates," accessed April 8, 2015

Redistricting after the 2010 census

See also: Redistricting in Texas after the 2010 census

Following the 2010 United States Census, Texas gained four congressional seats. At the time of redistricting, Republicans controlled both chambers of the Texas State Legislature and the governorship. The legislature approved a state legislative redistricting plan on May 23, 2011, which was signed into law by Governor Rick Perry on June 17, 2011. On June 24, 2011, the legislature approved a congressional redistricting plan, which was signed into law by the governor on July 18, 2011. Michael Barone and Chuck McCutcheon, writing for The Almanac of American Politics, described the approved congressional plan as follows:[14][20][21]

Republican legislators, and Perry, were horror-struck by the idea of “giving” Democrats any seats. In June, they disregarded their own delegation’s advice and passed their own plan to split the Metroplex’s Hispanic population six ways, stuff Austin Democrat Lloyd Doggett into a heavily Hispanic seat stretching to San Antonio, and create three new safely Republican enclaves: one in Fort Worth’s western suburbs, another in Houston’s eastern suburbs, and a third slithering along the I-35 corridor from the fringes of the Metroplex to the outskirts of Austin. The plan did create one new Democratic seat in the Rio Grande Valley. But it did so by dropping the neighboring 27th District of Republican Blake Farenthold, a fluke 2010 winner, from 73% to 49% Hispanic.[10]

The Almanac of American Politics

A labyrinthine legal battle ensued. On September 19, 2011, the United States Department of Justice "declared the map had been drawn with discriminatory intent." Texas attorney general Greg Abbott petitioned a three-judge panel at the United States Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., for preclearance. At the time, certain states were required under the Voting Rights Act to receive preclearance from the federal government before implementing modifications to election laws (including redistricting plans). On September 29, 2011, a federal court in San Antonio "halted the map's implementation and announced its intent to draw its own interim plan if the state did not obtain federal preclearance before the December 2011 opening of the candidate filing period." On November 8, 2011, the Washington, D.C., Court of Appeals denied Abbott's request for an expedited decision, thereby setting the stage for a lengthy trial. On November 23, 2011, the San Antonio federal court issued its own interim congressional and state legislative district maps, which were intended to apply to the 2012 midterm elections. Abbott appealed this decision to the United States Supreme Court, which ordered a stay of the San Antonio court's ruling, effectively "forcing Texas to delay its primary until May."[14][20][21]

In January 2012, the United States Supreme Court struck down the interim maps drawn by the San Antonio federal court, ruling that the court had exceeded its authority. On February 28, 2012, the San Antonio court issued a second set of interim district maps. Barone and McCutcheon described that congressional map as follows:[14][20][21]

This time, it resembled Republicans’ plan, except it created a new 66% Hispanic seat linking Dallas and Fort Worth and restored Hispanic voting strength in the 23rd District. After nearly a year and millions of dollars in court costs, the end result was nearly identical to what Republican incumbents had lobbied for in the first place: a 2-2 division of new seats. Democrats scored another pickup in November by ousting Canseco in the 23rd, for 12 of 36 seats overall.[10]

The Almanac of American Politics

On August 28, 2012, the Washington, D.C., Court of Appeals panel refused to grant preclearance to the original maps. On June 25, 2013, however, the United States Supreme issued its ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, which effectively removed the preclearance mechanism from the Voting Rights Act. As a result, the earlier "refusal to preclear Texas' maps was vacated."

On June 21, 2013, the state legislature approved a permanent congressional and state legislative redistricting plans. These new maps adhered closely to the second interim maps issued by the San Antonio federal court. On June 26, 2013, Perry signed the maps into law. Litigation surrounding Texas' congressional and state legislative district maps is ongoing.[14][20][21]

Redistricting ballot measures

Voting on
elections and campaigns
Campaignsandelections.jpg
Ballot measures
By state
By year
Not on ballot
See also: Redistricting measures on the ballot and List of Texas ballot measures

Ballotpedia has tracked the following ballot measure(s) relating to redistricting in Texas.

  1. Texas Apportionment of County Representatives, Proposition 2 (1936)
  2. Texas County Justice and Commissioner Precincts, Proposition 1 (1908)
  3. Texas Legislative Redistricting Board, Proposition 2 (1948)
  4. Texas Reapportionment of Judicial Districts, Proposition 13 (1985)
  5. Texas Redistricting Commission Amendment (2015)

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "Redistricting Texas."

Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.

Redistricting in Texas - Google News Feed

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See also

External links

Additional reading

References

  1. A backup commission draws the lines in the event that the state legislature cannot approve a plan.
  2. 2.0 2.1 All About Redistricting, "Why does it matter?" accessed April 8, 2015
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Indy Week, "Cracked, stacked and packed: Initial redistricting maps met with skepticism and dismay," June 29, 2011
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 The Atlantic, "How the Voting Rights Act Hurts Democrats and Minorities," June 17, 2013
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Redrawing the Lines, "The Role of Section 2 - Majority Minority Districts," accessed April 6, 2015
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 All About Redistricting, "Where are the lines drawn?" accessed April 9, 2015
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 FairVote, "Redistricting Glossary," accessed April 9, 2015
  8. The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, "Election Regulations," accessed April 13, 2015
  9. Brookings, "Redistricting and the United States Constitution," March 22, 2011
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  11. Brennan Center for Justice, "A Citizen's Guide to Redistricting," accessed March 25, 2015
  12. The Constitution of the United States of America, "Article 1, Section 2," accessed March 25, 2015
  13. All About Redistricting, "Who draws the lines?" accessed March 25, 2015
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 All About Redistricting, "Texas," accessed May 7, 2015
  15. The Daily Cougar, "Redistricting will affect November election," October 16, 2012
  16. The Journal of Politics, "Incumbency, Redistricting, and the Decline of Competition in U.S. House Elections," February 2006
  17. Polity, "The Effects of Non-Legislative Approaches to Redistricting on Competition in Congressional Elections," October 3, 2011
  18. Yale Law School, The Avalon Project, "Voting Rights Act of 1965; August 6, 1965," accessed April 6, 2015
  19. United States Census Bureau, "2009-2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates," accessed April 8, 2015
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 All About Redistricting, "Litigation in the 2010 cycle, Texas," accessed May 7, 2015
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 Barone, M. & McCutcheon, C. (2013). The almanac of American politics 2014 : the senators, the representatives and the governors : their records and election results, their states and districts. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.