Ask Gov. Perry to Veto CSHB 600 SBOE Redistricting Map
by David Bellow on May 7, 2011 at 10:06 AM
The following email is from one of my fellow State Republican Executive Committeeman and Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas Redistricting Committee, Jason Moore. please read it and call Governor Perry and ask him to veto CSHB 600 SBOE Redistricting Map
Fellow SREC Members,
When we started this process of having an SREC Redistricting Committee my goal was to be an honest conduit of information between the grassroots and the elected officials. I know that members of our committee have endeavored to do that as well. Our Chairman, Steve Munisteri has done a great job of advocating on behalf of our conservative grassroots on many issues, including getting deeper involved at my request last week in regards to the SBOE map. After I have made countless phone calls and emails between our great SBOE members, grassroots leaders and some Senators I believe we have come to a point of irreconcilable differences on the SBOE map.
I have included some analysis from a grassroots leader who has worked closely with a map drawer used by conservative members of the SBOE in an attempt to assist the Senators in understanding what their heartburn was with the initial map from the House Redistricting Committee. Even Rep Hunter (who has been very helpful to our RPT committee) agreed that it was appropriate to work on an amendment over in the Senate Redistricting Committee.
At the end of the day I sadly have to ask you to join with me in asking Governor Perry to veto CSHB600 (SBOE Redistricting Map). Map E 118 was the preferred map of our conservative SBOE members and we believe there is sufficient data to back up compliance with VRA, etc. Map E120 was a literal last minute substitute by my Senator, Kel Seliger that I believe has far worse problems than what they are saying Map E 118 has.
Citizen's Opinion Hotline [for Texas callers] :
(800) 252-9600 or (512) 463-1782
(there was a long hold this morning as many of you are already expressing displeasure with this.)
Office of the Governor Main Switchboard [office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST] : (512) 463-2000
FAX: Office of the Governor Fax: (512) 463-1849
In his book "Fed Up!", Governor Perry himself decries the blunt-instrument use of screaming "Voting Rights Act" (the redistricting equivalent to playing the race card), to justify various political and racial gerrymanders.
"I see a nation where people are not judged by the color of their skin - as they are today behind the façade of ending discrimination. I see a world where race-based thinking is relegated to the bigot in the corner and not embraced by our nation's laws in the form of affirmative action [or] flawed incarnations of the Voting Rights Act..." Fed Up! by Rick Perry, p. 173
Thanks to all of you who have expressed an interest and desire to have the most fair and equitable districts that represent the growing conservative Republican voting trends of our state. While I understand that if the Governor veto’s this bill we are rolling the dice with a possible justice department drawing of a map. However, the SBOE members and grassroots leaders that I have spoken with believe that it honestly could not be worse than what was finally passed. At the end of the day I believe it is our duty to go to bat for those who are directly impacted by this and represent their wishes. As much as I had hoped that our job would be to help lead the cheerleading there are times that we have to put aside what is comfortable and do what we believe is right. House Members draw maps that protect themselves, Senate members draw their districts to protect themselves; who will protect the conservative members of the SBOE?
RPT Redistricting Committee
Some analysis follows: (Thanks to Mark Ramsey & Pat O’Grady for their work on behalf of SBOE members in this data)
Here are some additional observations relating to the Hispanic DOJ districts 1,2,3, bearing in mind that numerous cases have struck down redistricting plans based on districts being too uneven. Striving for zero deviation (i.e. “One Man One Vote”) is one of the major goals of the courts—a much stronger goal than avoiding all “retrogression” as that is sometimes mathematically unavoidable as populations change:
Note first that under the “One Man One Vote” principle, E118 is closer to the ideal than E120 in all three DOJ Hispanic districts (1,2,3). In District 1 this is especially so, with the ratio of the E120%/E118% being a whopping 5.95 to 1 (i.e. 3.63/0.61)! (Courts have held that even less than 2% can be high enough to be ruled unconstitutional, with 1% or less being a reasonable goal.) E118 total deviation from ideal districts ranges from -1.01% to +1.0%, where E120 more than doubles the deviations to -3.78% to 2.07%.
Note second, and perhaps more importantly that the level of Hispanic voters in District 1 in the E118 plan, 74.1%, EXCEEDS the level of Hispanic voters in the E120 plan Districts 2 & 3 (73.2 and 72.2%, respectively). It would seem that advocates of E120 are satisfied with lower levels in districts 2 and 3 than in district 1, with the difference within E120 of District 1 excess over 2 and 3 being 4.5 and 5.5%, respectively!) Absent reasonable explanations, this would be considered “packing” in district 1. It also begs the question of why 74.1% is not considered suitable for District 1 in plan E118, when it is .9% and 1.9% higher than in Districts 2 and 3 in plan E120!
Additionally, though it failed, another proposal (E121) sought to create another Hispanic opportunity district with only 60% Hispanic population.