AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Department of Justice has sued Texas over new redistricting maps, saying the plans discriminate against voters in the state's booming Latino and Black populations.
In a press conference, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Texas is violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act "by creating redistricting plans that deny or abridge the rights of Latino and Black voters to vote on account of their race, color or membership in a language minority group."
The maps passed by Texas' Republican-dominated Legislature favor incumbents and decrease political representation for growing minority communities that have driven growth in the nation’s largest red state.
The map pack Black and Latino communities into bizarre-shaped districts — a Dallas-area one is referred to as a “seahorse” shape — while preserving safe seats for white Republicans.
Gov. Greg Abbott signed the new congressional maps into law this year following the release of the latest Census data.
The Justice Department is asking the court to prohibit elections from taking place under the new maps. It also wants the court to order Texas to create new maps that it says comply with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.