WASHINGTON, D.C. – Voting rights are under attack in this country, and we can look to Texas as a prime example of this growing problem. The Department of Justice recently filed an official lawsuit against the state claiming that their new congressional district lines violate terms of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits explicitly any gerrymandering attempts to infringe on “the right to vote on account of race, color, or language minority status.”
Texas’s 2020 census data revealed that a “minority [Black and Hispanic] population represents 95% of that (population) growth.” Despite these gains in racial and ethnic diversity, Texas’s new district lines ensure that white voters, who within these new district lines traditionally vote more conservatively, constitute the majority of voters. This disproportionate segmentation demonstrates how Texas is actively working to ignore the voice of this growing population by implementing barriers that silence them at the voting booth.
As we’ve stated before:
Gerrymandering is a threat to women, people of color, the LGBTQIA+ community, people with disabilities, and our overall democracy. It’s a method that legislators use to push their own agendas instead of the will of the people they represent. This party over people mentality works against the intersectional feminist agenda because it silences the many voices of voters that want to promote women’s rights.
This is not an issue restricted to only Texas; similar claims are also present in many states such as North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, and Alabama. For example, Ohio has three lawsuits challenging their redistricting. One lawsuit from two Black voters, on behalf of all Black voters in the area, argues that the map disenfranchises Black voters.
It is critical that the U.S. government acts quickly and efficiently to combat these obvious voter suppression attacks and prioritize voting reform before it’s too late. Currently, two key pieces of legislation are in play in the Senate that need our support: the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Both acts would aggressively reinforce the grounds against gerrymandering and work to ensure all American votes have the weight they are promised. America is home to many different voices, cultures, thoughts, and perspectives. We cannot continue to let partisan legislators highlight the voices of those who only echo their own values and political priorities while silencing those communities who dare to challenge them. Our vote is our voice, and everyone deserves a seat at the table of democracy.
The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the nation’s leading membership-based advocacy group dedicated to defending women’s rights, advancing equality and combating injustice in all aspects of social, political and economic life. Through educating, mobilizing, and convening a vast network of grassroots activists across the country, NOW advocates for national, state and local policies that promote an anti-racist and intersectional feminist agenda. Since its founding in 1966, NOW has been on the frontlines of nearly every major advancement for women’s rights and continues to champion progressive values today. More about NOW’s efforts and resources is available at NOW.org.