The U.S. Department of Justice said in a court filing Monday that Texas' new voting maps for Congress and for the Texas House do not meet federal anti-discrimination requirements, setting up a legal battle that will decide the landscape of future elections in the state.
The case, which involves the election districts drawn by the Republican-led Texas Legislature, will likely be decided by a federal court in Washington, D.C.
District boundaries are redrawn every 10 years to reflect changes in census data. Any changes to Texas' voting practices must be cleared by a federal court or the Justice Department to ensure changes do not discriminate based on race or color.
The Justice Department took issue with the maps for Congress and the Texas House, but it agreed with the state attorney general that maps for the Texas Senate and State Board of Education met requirements under the federal Voting Rights Act. But the Justice Department reiterated that the court would have to make its own determination on the education board and Senate maps.
The agency denied that the congressional and House plans maintain or increase the ability of minority voters to elect their candidate of choice, as required by federal law. The Voting Rights Act requires map drawers to give special protection to districts that contain mostly minorities.