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Federal government lawsuit over Texas redistricting could delay state primaries

AUSTIN (KXAN) – The Texas primaries are scheduled for March 1, but some say it could be postponed because new federal lawsuit.

The US Department of Justice is suing the state over its new redistricting maps, alleging the new maps for state and federal counties negate or dilute the votes of Black Texans and Latinos.

US Representative Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, said he had fought against redistricting the Texas area before and supported the DOJ’s challenge.

He does not believe any map changes will significantly affect the newly created district for which he is running, the 37th Congressional District.

“The county is primarily Austin, Westlake and Rollingwood,” says Doggett.

He said CD 37 was the area he represented before previous legislative and court actions related to redistricting changed his boundaries.

“And now, the county I serve today stretches from just north of 183 and I-35, to very south of San Antonio. So I often find myself needing to be at events in both San Antonio and Austin at the same time,” said Doggett of CD 35, which also now features new boundaries in the new map of Texas.

He said a change he fears could stem from the legal battle is halting a preliminary meeting in March.

“I hope that doesn’t happen, because it takes us away from the traditional day, and it usually means fewer people,” says Doggett.

The lawsuit asks the court to prevent Texas from holding elections according to these maps and implementing new redistricting plans.

It’s one of the few things the DOJ can try to do right now: delay primaries or use maps, said Richard Pineda, a political science professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. existing county.

“This is one of the key questions when it comes to these types of lawsuits, which is the timeliness of how you can get a federal judge to intervene,” explains Pineda.

Pineda said changing the map will be a lot more complicated once the primaries begin.

“The state is making these changes affect US congressional districts, but this is also affecting municipalities that have redraw lines for city seats such as commissioners and county seats,” he said. city ​​council seats. “So it’s throwing a big wrench at the structures to try to stop all of these things or try to counter them.”

“But if there is any entity that has the power – the Department of Justice,” Pineda added.

Pineda said the next legal steps are to wait for additional filings and let the court decide the location and appoint a judge for the case.

KXAN has reached out to several state legislators who are in favor of the new restricted map of Texas. They did not respond or were not available for an interview.

In October, State Senator Joan Huffman, R-Houston, defended the new maps during a Senate floor debate.

Huffman led the redistricting process in the Senate and said she was reviewing the Voting Rights Act, which is now one of the bases for the Justice Department’s new lawsuit.

“Although these maps were drawn up blindly for racing, it would be wrong to say that race was completely omitted in my final run. I am committed to giving due consideration to all factors related to compliance with the law, including compliance with section two of the Voting Rights Act,” she said.

https://www.kxan.com/news/texas-politics/federal-governments-lawsuit-over-texas-redistricting-might-delay-states-primary-election/ Federal government lawsuit over Texas redistricting could delay state primaries

DUSTIN JONES

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