MALDEF AND LATINO COALITION SUIT CHARGES TEXAS MAPS VIOLATE THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT
Latino groups and voters seek the creation of fair election districts that reflect growth of Latino population
SAN ANTONIO, TX – Today, individual voters and a united coalition of Latino organizations filed suit seeking Texas House and congressional districts that offer Latinos equal electoral opportunities. MALDEF represents the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which claims that, because of Latino growth as demonstrated by recently released Census data, Texas is required to increase the current number of Latino-majority Texas House and congressional districts in order to comply with the federal Voting Rights Act.
The lead plaintiff in the case is the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force, a coalition of organizations committed to securing fair redistricting plans for Latinos and all Texans. The Task Force membership includes Texas LULAC/HOPE, the Mexican-American Bar Association of Texas, the National Organization for Mexican American Rights, Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, the William C. Velasquez Institute, and Southwest Workers' Union. The lawsuit also includes individual Latino voters from around the state.
"Texas was forced in 2001 and 2006 to redraw statewide redistricting plans because of its failure to comply with the federal Voting Rights Act," stated Nina Perales, MALDEF Vice President of Litigation and lead counsel in the case. "We have turned to the courts again to make sure Texas follows the law in the current redistricting cycle," continued Perales.
Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel, stated "Latinos in Texas have earned the right to districts that reflect their strength and importance in the state. The filing of this suit is a first step toward securing that right."
Joey Cardenas of Texas LULAC/HOPE, stated "On behalf of the thousands of members of Texas LULAC throughout the state and the Latino community, it is necessary and proper to demand from its democratic state government equal representation that reflects the demographics of the state of Texas in accordance with federal law under the Voting Rights Act; and when such a demand falls on deaf ears as it has in Texas, it becomes our responsibility to bring suit against the state to preserve those democratic principles and invoke the jurisdiction of the courts."
"We are filing this lawsuit on behalf of more than 9 million Latinos in Texas and ask the courts to fix a horrific attack on democracy and fair play," said Lydia Camarillo, Vice President of Southwest Voter Registration Education Project. "Only when Latinos gain majority-Latino districts that reflect their growth, can the Latino electorate vote for the candidates of their choice and democracy can prevail,"
The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio. The Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force is chaired by Domingo Garcia, former Mayor Pro Tem of Dallas and Lydia Camarillo, Vice President of Southwest Voter Registration Education Project.
To access the complaint, visit: http://maldef.org/assets/pdf/latino_coalition_lawsuit.pdf.
Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "law firm of the Latino community," MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit: www.maldef.org.
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