On the heels of the press announcement from Common Cause and League of Women Voters, we are excited to announce our partnership with the League of Women Voters of Texas. This collaboration will allow us to take our message on ending Gerrymandering in Texas to more communities across the state. As DeGerrymander Texas and Texans Ending Gerrymandering, we truly believe that a “representative democracy depends on voters freely choosing their elected officials, not elected officials choosing them. The League works to promote transparent and accountable redistricting processes and to end hyper-partisan practices that don't benefit constituents.”
League of Women Voters of Texas and Common Cause Texas call for changes to TX Redistricting Process
Tomorrow morning, the litigation on Texas' congressional and state house maps that originally began way back at the start of this decade will resume in a San Antonio federal court.
At issue during this latest phase of litigation will be the 2013 district maps that were adopted by the legislature with slight modifications from the 2011 court-issued interim maps.
It should be noted that Texas has found itself in court every redistricting cycle for the past four decades - and lost every decade - dating back to when Democrats were in power.
Following is a statement from Common Cause Texas Executive Director Anthony Gutierrez:
"This hearing will generate endless discussion about which party or candidate may benefit from proposed changes to current district maps but the real problem we need to be talking about is this badly broken process that we keep using to draw districts in Texas.
For decades, regardless of which party has been in power, our redistricting process has required some amount of litigation - and yet our legislature refuses to even consider reform.
This decades-long push towards increasingly hyper-partisan gerrymandering has been a huge factor in creating the deep partisan divides that exist in our country today.
There can be no doubt that there is a direct connection between our broken political system that focuses almost exclusively on issues that will help to win primary elections and a broken redistricting system that has largely eliminated competitiveness in general elections.
If we want to return to the time when legislating wasn't solely about trying to win a primary election, we need to get serious about redistricting reform now."
Following is a statement from the League of Women Voters of Texas President Elaine Wiant:
"We are hopeful that the court hearing will focus attention on improving the redistricting process in Texas.
In Texas legislators are allowed to manipulate the district lines to keep themselves in power. As a result voter choice at the ballot box is astoundingly low: 82 out of 150 State House races were uncontested in the 2016 general election, and only one major party filed to run in 66 percent of the races.
Elections are supposed to represent the will of the people yet many Texas lawmakers have no competition in the General Election. Instead they are elected in the Primaries with very low voter participation.
We believe responsibility for redistricting should be placed in an independent citizen commission. Districts should have equal population, be geographical, contiguous, compact, with district lines that coincide with boundaries of local political subdivisions. Districts should not dilute voting strength of minority populations or favor or disfavor a political party or incumbent. The entire process should be transparent and provide public hearings.
The League stands firm in its support for a state redistricting process and standards that promote fair and effective representation with maximum opportunity for public scrutiny."