Redistricting: 'Purposeful Discrimination'

The trampling of Travis County

The Republican congressional redistricting plan continues its march through the special session, trampling Travis County along the way. Senate Bill 4 easily passed the House Wednes­day with a few amendments, but nothing substantially affecting Travis, which will be split among five districts – possibly threatening Austin Democrat Lloyd Doggett's tenure in Washington, D.C., and providing no districts in which Travis residents constitute a majority of the population. In debate on Tuesday, Austin Rep. Dawnna Dukes and other Dems offered alternative maps that would largely keep Austin whole, but they were swatted down like so many flies. "They have purposefully gone so far in their attempts to eliminate one person," Dukes said, referring to Doggett, "that they have eliminated the voice of 688,000 people in Travis County" – perhaps a reference to the ideal district size of 698,488 people. Democrats warned that the map will simply end up in court for violating minority rights under the Voting Rights Act. Dukes said SB 4 is "purposeful discrimination," and that public hearings on the map simply went "in one ear and out the other" for Republicans. "You could erect a sign at the ballot box that says 'blacks need not vote,' and it wouldn't be as effective at eliminating their ability to meaningfully participate as this map," Dukes said. If minor differences between the House and Senate versions can be worked out, it will head to the governor's desk.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More redistricting
As Texas Redistricting Maps Advance, Lawmakers Aspire for Newly Drawn Seats
As Texas Redistricting Maps Advance, Lawmakers Aspire for Newly Drawn Seats
Talarico goes south, Doggett west, as Casar trades up

Mike Clark-Madison, Oct. 22, 2021

New Austin Congressional District Would Help Protect GOP Incumbents
New Austin Congressional District Would Help Protect GOP Incumbents
New TX 37 has a 73.8% Democratic vote share. We should be happy, right?

Mike Clark-Madison, Oct. 1, 2021

More by Lee Nichols
From the Music Desk
From the Music Desk
On Willie, Billy, Stevie Ray, Blaze, and more highlights from four decades of covering Austin music

Sept. 3, 2021

Game Changer
Game Changer
A new football culture for Austin bars

Oct. 23, 2015


redistricting, Legislature, Lloyd Doggett, Dawnna Dukes, Voting Rights Act, elections

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle