Category Archives: Redistricting ’10

Bad Day for Republicans

There are a couple of items going around that really deal some bad news for the Republicans.

First, the DC Federal Court panel has ruled against the Texas’ discriminatory redistricting maps. The GOPers are sure to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, and it seems the elections will continue since the lawsuit is about the maps as drawn by the Texas Legislature and not the maps we are using now, as drawn by the San Antonio federal court. In a second post, Li says the boundaries for some could be changed for the election–or at least be possible.

On the other hand, it is certainly possible to see a move to adjust those interim maps in the San Antonio court.  For example, CD-23 arguably could be restored to its benchmark configuration fairly easily.  Similar arguments might also be made with respect to HD 117 and 149, which are wholly contained in their respective counties.  But that’s a call that redistricting plaintiffs in San Antonio will have to make.

The opinion regarding CD-23 is particularly telling. The panel felt that Republicans did everything possible to dilute Hispanic voting strength by switching out active Latino voters for non-active Latino voters. The numbers looked the same, but the ability for Latinos to elect a candidate of their choosing was purposely diluted.

Republicans Can’t Catch A Break With Latinos

The old and failed “You’re  conservative like us” plan to lure Latinos to the Republicans seems to be failing–still. As Tea Partiers double-down against issues like a woman’s right to choose, recent polling by Latino Decisions finds that social issues are not even showing up on Latino political radars.

For Latinos the issue that matters most is the economy followed closely by immigration.  And on both of these issues the vast majority of Latinos support a more progressive agenda.  Moral issues such as abortion and gay marriage simply don’t appear on the Latino political radar.  The GOP and Latinos may be simpatico on issues of abortion but this is of little help, social issues are not what sway Latinos in the voting booth.

Now, the Republicans might try to score points on jobs and the economy, but when Romney is attacking on welfare, while defending tax cuts for the wealthy, well, I’d predict that none of that will cause Latinos to switch course. The latest polls show Latinos supporting Obama with a 35 and 40 point spread over Romney.

And if that weren’t enough, the one issue that caused President Obama’s “comeback” with Latinos, Deferred Action, should be ended by Romney and the Republicans, according to Texas’ Ted Cruz.

The key for Obama, then, is turnout. And since Republican leader Boehner is hoping Latinos and African Americans don’t show up to vote, the Latino and African American response is obvious:  SHOW UP!

Pro-Voter Package Filed by Sen. Ellis

Thank you Senator Rodney Ellis.  Now, it’s up to us to push it, call our legislators, and get it done. Although the Republicans, including my own HD-127 rep. are hell-bent on targeting Latino voters with a Voter ID bill, this package will definitely be the alternative.

Senate Bill 210 designates every statewide election day as a state holiday, including primary election day.

Senate Bill 211 allows eligible residents to register for voting during the early voting period at polling locations as long as the eligible resident provides certain documentation.

Senate Bill 212 creates criminal penalties for certain deceptive or disenfranchising practices regarding an election.

Senate Bill 213 allows eligible residents to register for voting on election day at polling locations as long as the eligible resident provides certain documentation.

Senate Bill 214 allows registered voters to vote by mail during the early voting period.

Senate Bill 215 and Senate Bill 216 prevent eligible voters from being taken off the voter registration rolls due to administrative or clerical error.

“I truly believe that government is most effective when citizens participate in the process because having the power to choose one’s representatives in the voting booth is at the heart of a free society. I filed the Voter Empowerment Package to urge the state to implement policies that empower eligible voters to make their voice heard at the polls. It is imperative to our democracy that voters know that this state not only encourages them to vote, but will also protect their right to do so,” said Senator Ellis.

I’m glad we have some bills to support, although I expect us to be playing defense a lot of the session, too.

Gallegos Gives an Overview of Redistricting at Brown Bag

The Harris County Democratic Party is still open for business and the monthly Brown Bag discussion continued today. State Senator Mario Gallegos provided a great crowd of hard-core Dems an overview of what is to come regarding redistricting.

Prior to the talk, Chairman Gerry Birnberg provided us a “bright spot” from Tuesday. Because Bill White carried Harris County, the 2012 EARLY VOTING polling locations and those E-Day precincts in which White won will be presided over by Democratic election judges, which will ensure some fairness in on-the-spot decision-making when some voter intimidators need to be escorted out.

Gallegos reported that based on Census projections, Texas stands to gain four congressional seats. Based on population patterns, those seats may be in Houston, Dallas, the I-35 Corridor, and the Rio Grande Valley. And because we have a Democratic White House, we may just have a more cooperative, voter-friendly Justice Department who will have to approve whatever is created–or send it back for further review.

Gallegos told the Democrats that a special session may be necessary to finish up redistricting work on Congressional or SBOE districts. State House and Senate districts not completed during the regular session would be drawn up by the Legislative Redistricting Board (LRB).  Anything passed by either of these bodies must obtain Justice Department preclearance under the Voting Rights Act.

A suit against an adopted plan may be brought at any time, and if a federal court is called in to draw up an acceptable plan, it does not need to obtain preclearance.  If drawn by a state district court, then it will require preclearance.

Ultimately, the time is now to make your voices heard. On Saturday, November 20 at the UH Athletic/Alumni Center (10AM), a Joint Committee hearing on Redistricting will be held. Public testimony will be heard, but if you cannot make it, you can submit written testimony, too, but you will need to provide 25 copies for the committee members.

Senator Gallegos also reminded Democrats that there is a run-off for Houston ISD Trustee District 8, reminding them that the the pro-student, pro-teacher, pro-public schools candidate is Juliet Stipeche. In fact, Juliet is the only one with a Democratic voting record and is a current sustaining member of the Harris County Democratic Party.

It was good to see the room filled. It just goes to show that Dems are not giving up. And given Senator Gallegos’ remarks about the Republican agenda, he’s up for the battle, along with his colleagues.