ASBN Applauds Attorney General Suit of Texas Over Voting Rights
The American Sustainable Business Network (ASBN) applauds Attorney General Merrick Garland’s announcement today to sue the state of Texas over a gerrymandered redistricting plan it says violates the Voting Rights Act and underscores Garland’s statement that the suit spotlights the need for the Senate to act on voting rights legislation. ASBN has been an early and strong supporter of the voting rights legislation, including the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is suing because it found the Texas redistricting plan for Congressional districts dilutes the representation of Black and Latino voters. The suit contends that while Texas’ population has grown in the last ten years to make the state eligible to add two additional members of Congress, the two new districts were drawn to have white majorities even though most of the population growth came in the Latino community.
“Our Constitution provides for equal representation and to deny Black and Latino citizens an equal opportunity to participate in the voting process and have an equal chance to elect representatives of their choice violates the Voting Rights Act,” said Thomas Oppel, EVP of policy at ASNB. “Unequal, non-representative voting threatens our democracy, upon which our economy is dependent.”
In announcing the suit, Garland noted that the Supreme Court’s recent decisions eroding the enforcement provisions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) forced DOJ to sue rather than being able to use the VRA. The Supreme Court in the 2013 Shelby County decision essentially eliminated the “pre-clearance” provision of Section 5 of the VRA which enabled the DOJ to review all voting changes in those jurisdictions with a history of voting discrimination, which included the state of Texas.
To restore that protection, ASBN continues to support the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which has passed the House, but has been stalled in the Senate through the filibuster rule that requires 60 votes to even begin debate on many bills. ASBN has also called on the Senate to reform that rule in matters involving voting rights.