Hours after the Texas Legislature released the first draft of the redistricting map, Fair Maps Texas held a press conference featuring a diverse group of Texans who criticized gerrymandering and called for a fair redistricting process.
The Texans demanded better representation as they spoke out on the impact that the current districting map has imposed on them and urged U.S Congress to pass the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
Watch the full news conference here:
For the past four years, Fair Maps Texas has been pressuring the legislature to make improvements on the redistricting process. The coalition is composed of the League of Women Voters of Texas, Common Cause, Texas Civil Rights Project, ACLU of Texas, Our Vote Texas, Clean Elections Texas, Texas Against Gerrymandering, and other non-partisan good government groups. Fair Maps Texas has convinced the legislature to expand a number of public input hearings, virtual testimonies during the pandemic, as well as getting the Legislature to show the public proposed maps before they pass them out of committee.
“Keep in mind that Texas has a very long track record of discriminating against voters of color” said Stephanie Swanson, the Redistricting Chair from the League of Women Voters of Texas and Leader at Fair Maps Texas Coalition.
Swanson noted that the state was been found to intentionally discriminate against voters of color back in 2011.
“It is our job to start connecting the dots between the extreme culture wars and regressive policies we are seeing here in Texas. While the voter suppression bill that the legislature recently passed stands to silence the voices of many, gerrymandering has already silenced the voices of millions across the state,” said Swanson as she read the excerpts from Reverend Barber.
“Many of our legislators are in office because of gerrymandering. They are in office not because they won, but because their district was drawn to guarantee their election.”