Since the new political maps were released last fall there have been more than a half-dozen combined challenges to the redistricting plans. This Tuesday, a push by Tarrant County Democratic state Sen. Beverly Powell to temporarily block the Republican-led redraw of her district will be heard.
The four-day hearing in El Paso marks the first on the merits of any of the federal redistricting lawsuits in Texas, as reported by The Dallas Morning News.
The new political maps have been accused of securing the Republicans’ grip on power for at least the next decade, blunting the voting strength of nonwhite voters. This is the case with Powell’s District 10, which now favors a Republican candidate by splitting communities of color and shifting them into a large swath of rural areas controlled by white voters.
According to The Dallas Morning News, Powell and six other Tarrant County citizens argue the Senate plan intentionally redrew the maps to discriminate against voters of color, violating the federal voting rights law and the U.S Constitution.
A panel of three federal judges set a September trial start date in the consolidated redistricting case. There’s also a challenge in Texas state court.
“A crucial fight is underway to preserve District 10 as a Tarrant County-based diverse district where minority voters and Anglos unite to elect their candidate of choice,” said Powell.
Until the lawsuit is settled, Powell’s legal team asked the federal court to block the map, with respect to District 10 from being used in elections and to restore the district’s previous boundaries.
The plaintiffs also asked the court to delay primary elections affected by that change, noting that lawmakers already approved a back-up primary schedule.