Redistricting: What can you do?

Authors: Sofia Briones and Denise Guerra

Redistricting is happening now. Texas legislators are redrawing congressional and state legislative district boundaries. Texas in particular has been found in the past to intentionally discriminate against people of color when it comes to this process. Redistricting affects every aspect of our lives and it is extremely crucial that Texans give their input during the process. 

Listed below are resources from Texas organizations that will help you stay involved and informed. 

The League of Women Voters of the San Antonio Area (LWV-SA): 

About: The League of Women Voters of the United States is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate, inform, and advocate public policy and participation in government in support of democracy. The organization has a statewide Texas league and there is a local chapter established in San Antonio, TX (LWV-San Antonio Section). LWV-SA encourages the community to be engaged with their council city leaders to pass local resolutions to address redistricting.
 

How to Participate: 

How-To Guides for preparing public testimony can be found at this link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/ClubExpressClubFiles/979482/documents/LWV_-_Fair_and_Open_Redistricting_Practices_for_Local_Jurisdictions_1__400842741.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIA6MYUE6DNNNCCDT4J&Expires=1633397693&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DLWV_-_Fair_and_Open_Redistricting_Practices_for_Local_Jurisdictions_1_.pdf&Signature=KIo0WLWJ2fq63WQA6vBKSoGpHXw%3D 

The Texas League of Women Voters provided a Community Forum on Redistricting in regards to providing information about redistricting and how to provide testimony. The link can be accessed here: https://nowcastsa.com/Texas-redistricting-hearings-testimony

Additional key points to consider when providing testimony for the 2021 redistricting hearings that LWV-SA has provided: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AJ5Enk3nMr3R1VX66LXJauVS3z32GvkKERzonIzxzqY/edit

Links to participate in the House & Senate redistricting public input hearings via in-person or virtual registration and through the submission of online comments can be accessed here: here:https://lwvtexas.org/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=979482&module_id=473645 , https://lwvtexas.org/content.aspx?page_id=2507&club_id=979482&item_id=3286&pst=15774 

LWV-SA information on getting started to pass local resolutions: https://my.lwv.org/texas/pass-local-resolution

LWV-TX information to get in contact with elected officials: https://lwvtx.clubexpress.com/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=979482&module_id=465924#

LWV-SA & FairMaps Texas mission to create an independent redistricting commission for TX  link to participate: https://lwvsa.org/contact-form/

Where to Watch: https://apps.texastribune.org/features/2021/texas-legislature-livestream/?_ga=2.150560240.739691673.1633363058-549447566.1620868401

Fair Maps Texas

About: Fair Maps Texas is a non-partisan grassroots civic movement composed of various coalition partners with the overall goal of rectifying the partisan favored redistricting process of Texas.  Fair Maps Texas works towards their mission through hosting awareness events, encouraging supporters of reform, providing education and advocacy of public policy, and through engaging in grassroots activism. 

How to Participate:

Public field hearings: The public participates in public input hearings hosted by Fair Maps and their testimonies and comments are recorded and submitted by Fair Maps to the Senate and House committee redistricting sessions. Past public field hearings hosted by Fair Maps can be found here: https://www.fairmapstexas.org/watch-virtual-public-hearings

Volunteering: Volunteering with Fair Maps provides the opportunity to easily submit written comments that will be sent directly to the Senate and House committee redistricting sessions by Fair Maps. The link to volunteer can be accessed here: https://www.fairmapstexas.org/

  • Observer Corps Volunteer program with Fair Maps: Fair Maps asks volunteers interested in Observer Corps to inform Fair Maps if the TX senate and house representative advertise and promote the public input hearing to their constituents. Additionally, volunteers in Observer Corps are asked to contact their local city commissioners and council members to publicize public input hearing information for their respective local areas statewide. To get involved with Fair Maps Observer Corps, access the link here: https://www.fairmapstexas.org/volunteer

Signing the Fair Maps Petition: Fair Maps is encouraging the public to support its petition that calls for the TX state legislature and all local elected officials in Texas to pass legislation for an independent verification redistricting commission for both state and congressional redistricting districts. Signing the petition can be accessed at this link: https://www.fairmapstexas.org/petition

How-to resources for preparing public testimony: Fair Maps provides how-to guides for preparing public testimony that can be accessed at this link: https://www.fairmapstexas.org/testimony-guides . Additionally, Fair Maps provides videos on how to provide public testimony.  

MOVE Texas (Mobilize. Organize. Vote. Empower)

About: MOVE Texas is a non-partisan, non-profit, grassroots organization dedicated to empowering youth in underrepresented communities across Texas to become leaders in civic engagement and public issue advocacy within their communities.                                               

How to Participate: 

As MOVE Texas is involved in public issue advocacy, through volunteering with MOVE Texas, interested individuals can communicate to the director and executives of MOVE Texas their interest in advocating for addressing the state congressional redistricting process in Texas.  The link to volunteer with MOVE Texas can be accessed here: https://movetexas.org/volunteer/

Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF)

About: MALDEF is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and defending the legal civil rights of all Latino American Citizens.                                                                                                                    

How to Participate:

MALDEF has issued two public statements in regards to redistricting in Texas. After the 20201 census data was released by the U.S. Census Bureau, MALDEF released a public statement addressing the need for Congressional representatives to draw the redistricting lines fairly reflecting the growth of Latinos in America. In addition, the president of MALDEF provided testimony in a public hearing to the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties of the Committee on the Judiciary on August 16, 2021 advocating for the passage of the proposed bill, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021. This bill would significantly help address the Texas Redistricting process by legally prohibiting discrimination.

Contact MALDEF via this link to get in touch with the organization regarding redistricting efforts. 

Common Cause Texas

About: Common Cause Texas is a non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen democracy in Texas through grassroots civic engagement, and promoting public support of public policy issue development, education, and advocacy.                                        

How to Participate:

·   Sign a petition: Common Cause Texas is asking its supporters to sign-the petition by Fair Maps Texas to call on the Texas State legislators and local elected officials to adopt a resolution to create a fair non-discriminatory redistricting process.

·   Volunteer: Common Cause Texas is seeking volunteers to assist in all of its campaigns, which includes ending partisan gerrymandering. Sign-up at this link: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/join-the-texas-action-team?_ga=2.236791041.1040914971.1633427607-1316959469.1633427607


Clean Elections Texas Education Fund (CETEF)

About: CETEF is a non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the Texas public the role corporate finance has in corrupting Texas political campaigns and in the advocation of public funding for Texas political campaigns to promote and establish transparency and impartiality in government processes.

How to Participate:

CETEF is a collation partner of Fair Maps Texas and is working with them in their efforts to address the Texas redistricting process.It is required to become a member of CETEF to actively participate in CETEF efforts to address the Texas redistricting process. Sign-up here for CETEF member registration.

Texas Civil Rights Project 

About: Texas Civil Rights Project is an 501 nonprofit organization based in Austin, Texas that advocates for voter rights, racial and economic justice, and criminal justice reform. 

Redistricting Page: https://mapsbythepeople.org/learn-more/ 

How to Participate:

“It will be crucial that Texans from all across the state give input on whether these maps accurately reflect the communities they attempt to serve”.

The Texas Civil Rights Project has a special page that allows you to submit your information and they will email you with instructions on how to give a testimony. 

“Do you want to tell legislators what you think about the maps?….Leave us your name and email below and we’ll notify you about how you can give testimony”

Link to take action: https://mapsbythepeople.org/redistricting-hearings/

Our Vote Texas (formerly known as Texas Progressive Action Network)

About: Our Vote Texas is a 501 organization focused on voter, civic education, and voter rights advocacy. 

How to Participate: 

https://ourvotetexas.org/calls-to-action/2021/9/28/senate-redistricting-meets-on-thursday

  • Show up to testify (and note in-person testimony procedure detailed here will still apply). If you’d like testimony prep guidance, please message and we will connect you with helpful resources.
  • Submit public comments via the committee’s public comment portal HERE.
  • Record a 60-90 sec video talking about why you want a fair and open redistricting process via the #ShowUsTheMaps campaign HERE!

Texas Progressive Action Network also included a PDF with some talking points you can use when speaking on the House Map : https://static1.squarespace.com/static/59e8ed9bdc2b4a41cc039071/t/615898679e417e2b3ef8873e/1633196135797/Fair+Maps+Testimony+Prep+-+HB+1+-+2021.pdf

March to the Polls 

About: March to the Polls  is a non-partisan voter empowerment organization. Their mission is to significantly increase voter participation and turnout, especially among historically low-propensity voters, and to ensure that candidates and elected officials advocate and promote justice, equity, and equal opportunity in American life. 

How to Participate: 

Tutorials on how to vote in both English and Spanish. https://www.marchtothepolls.org/learn/how-to/vote

Informational videos on why it is important to vote: https://www.marchtothepolls.org/learn/why/vote


Texans Against Gerrymandering

About: Texans Against Gerrymandering is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization. Their goal is to educate, organize and empower communities to end gerrymandering in Texas through redistricting reform.

How to Participate: 

Texas Against Gerrymandering has a “Take Action” tab that includes a couple of ways to get involved. 

  • Request a Speaker: TAG can provide a speaker for your group to learn more about gerrymandering and redistricting reform. Learn more.
  • Make a Donation: You can make a donation to help Texans Against Gerrymandering continue our work. Learn more

ACLU of Texas 

About: The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas is a civil rights organization who has worked in the courts, the legislature, and through public education to protect civil rights and individual liberty.

How to Participate: 

https://www.aclutx.org/en/campaigns/redistricting-texas 

ACLU of Texas includes two ways to “act now”

  1. Sign up to testify at your local redistricting town hall.
    1.  Also allows you to sign up for ACLU emails to stay informed and know when to act.
    2. If you include your phone number it also allows the ACLU and its representatives to contact you via text messages and mobile phone calls about ways to take action and support the ACLU.
  2. Send your testimony to the members of the House Redistricting Committee. (page was not found)  https://action.aclu.org/send-message/tx-redistricting-message

Common Ground for Texans 

About: Common Ground for Texans is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to promote and advance civil discourse among diverse communities, seeking common ground solutions toward a healthy democracy.

How to participate: 

Watch out for these important election dates. 

  • Last day to register to vote in the Nov 2 election:
      Thursday, Oct 4, 2021
  • Early voting begins:
    Monday Oct 18, 2021
  • Last day for Ballot by Mail application to be received:
    Friday Oct 22, 2021
  • Early voting ends:
    Friday Oct 29, 2021
  • Election Day:
    Tuesday Nov 2, 2021

TexPIRG 

About: TexPIRG is an independent, state-based, citizen-funded organization. They speak out for a healthier, safer world in which we’re freer to pursue our own individual well-being and the common good.

How to Participate: 

https://texpirg.org/feature/txp/democracy-people

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