In 2011, Texas drew election maps that intentionally discriminated against people of color.  A federal district court that reviewed those maps noted the

"exclusion of minority member and public input despite the minority population growth, the misleading information, the secrecy and closed process, and the rushed process.”

 

Recently the same panel of judges stated, 

 

“Given the record produced in 2011, the State must implement a process that, by any reasonable definition, is fair and open.’”

Recommendations for a fair and open process

Provide notice of hearings and adequate opportunities to review maps before hearings.

"We understand that the timeline for redistricting is short, but we are asking that the Legislature not to use this as an excuse to exclude the public from deliberations."

Provide  Reasonable Notice of Hearings

Hold a public hearing with public testimony on any proposed maps after they have been drawn, but before they pass through Committee.

“We want public input to be taken seriously and to be reflected in the maps.  While the Supreme Court said that partisan gerrymandering is ok, this does not mean that the Legislature has a green light to exclude public input in the maps, especially from communities of color.”

Hold a Fair and Open Process

Give ample time for all legislators, and the general public, to introduce alternative map suggestions. 

"The public deserves the chance to comment on the plans, especially if they feel like the maps would negatively impact their community's ability to receive fair representation."

Provide Adequate Time for Alternative Views
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Start the process by ensuring districts comply with the Voting Rights Act. Give groups representing communities of color a voice in the process.

​"In 2011, Texas drew election maps that intentionally discriminated against people of color.  Minorities were short 5 U.S. Congressional seats, which means they are entering the 2021 redistricting with a large deficit. Moreover, most of Texas' population growth over the past 10 years has been from the Hispanic and Latin communities."

No Racial Gerrymandering

Don’t look at data showing which political party people vote for while drawing maps.

"We want to eliminate partisan gerrymandering--the practice of politicians picking their voters from voting data so that they and their party can remain in power. In Texas this data is derived from voters’ primary voting history." ​

No Partisan Gerrymandering

Incumbents should not draw their own maps.

"Incumbents should not draw their own maps to ensure their reelection or cement their party’s power. It’s similar to letting the fox guard the hen house.  A fair and open redistricting process allows voters to pick their politicians and not the other way around."

No Conflicts of Interest

Keep all documents, written communications, emails,  text messages and draft maps. The public has a right to full transparency on how and why proposed maps were created.

"Already, organizations involved in redistricting, including ones associated with members of the Texas House redistricting committee, are following the Hofeller dossier playbook for gerrymandering and encouraging legislators to hide and destroy their emails and other communications.  We want the legislators to know that voters will not stand for such cynical, secretive behavior.

 

As the legislative committees begin the redistricting process, we expect the entire process — from beginning to end — to be fully transparent to the general public. There should be full disclosure of every aspect of the legislature's work: data, communications, consultations or proposals, from whatever source. Claims of ‘legislative privilege’ have no place when it comes to redistricting.  District lines should not be decided in a back room. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.”

 

Don’t Hide or Destroy

Explain how the maps were drawn, and why there was any deviation from traditional redistricting principles, including county and precinct splits and population deviations.

“Redistricting is a complicated process that takes place fairly quickly. Given Texas's history of intentional discrimination when drawing districts, mapmakers need to explain to the public how and why they chose to draw any set of particular maps so that the public can scrutinize their explanations and weigh-in on the new proposals."

 

Explain your Work

#Fairmapstexas

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