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Texas Redistricting Maps Discriminatory, Thrown Out by Fed. Court

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By Andrew Lu on August 30, 2012 6:52 AM

A U.S. federal district court in Texas found this to be exactly the situation as it threw out the Lone Star state's new district maps drawn ahead of the November 6 presidential elections, reports Reuters. State lawmakers apparently attempted to silence the black and Hispanic vote, as evidenced by the Texas redistricting map case.

The court found that these new maps not only had the effect of reducing the influence of black and Hispanic votes, but that Texas state lawmakers also had the nefarious intent of discriminating against such minorities, writes Reuters.

The Texas redistricting maps case highlights that the United States democratic system, while a democracy, is not quite the one-to-one representation that many believe. For example, in a lot of jurisdictions your vote may only be counted in a region or district, and the candidate will essentially get the region’s vote, instead of each individual’s vote.

What this allows is clever lawmakers to draw maps in such a way as to congregate similar demographics together like blacks or Hispanics into one district or to scatter them around so that their collective voice will be broken.

While drawing district maps for political purposes may be legal, trouble arises when drawing maps are done for the purpose of discriminating against certain groups. So, the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 that outlawed legislators from disenfranchising certain protected voters.

The lawmakers plan to appeal the decision, but in the meantime, the federal court will draw the interim maps, reports Reuters.

And if the lawmakers responsible for the Texas redistricting maps cry foul and blame the court for having a political agenda, they should be aware that two of the three judges were appointed by President George W. Bush.

Discrimination can be very subtle, so if you have any questions, you may want to post a question on FindLaw Answers.

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