Texas should be blocked from using a map of congressional districts that was found to have been drawn in violation of the U.S. Voting Rights Act, a federal court was told Thursday. The motion, filed with a three-judge panel in U.S. District Court in San Antonio, follows a March 10 ruling that invalidated three districts, including one in Travis County, that the court said were drawn by Republicans to intentionally discriminate against Latino and black voters. That ruling, however, did not mandate or discuss any remedies to correct the problems. Attorney General Ken Paxton has argued that there is no need to redraw the congressional map because the court invalidated districts that were drawn in 2011, while Texans have been electing members of Congress according to a map that the Legislature adopted in 2013. But according to the motion filed Friday, the three districts invalidated in the 2011 map were little changed in the 2013 version.
To allow those districts to remain in force for the upcoming election would put millions of Texans at risk of electing “members of Congress under a legally invalid plan,” the motion said.
“It can hardly be disputed that the public has an interest in having congressional representatives elected in accordance with the Constitution,” the motion said.
The filing also urged the three-judge panel to act quickly, noting that candidate filing for the 2018 election begins in November, and Texas counties would need time to realign voting precincts to match newly drawn boundaries.