Fair Maps Texas Weekly Action
This week from Fair Maps Texas:
Thank you for continued efforts to build a relationship with your state representatives and senators!
This week’s action: Arm your legislators with the knowledge they need to navigate congressional redistricting in Texas. Remember, if possible, direct your message to the Chief of Staff.
Here are some important things you should know about our U.S. Congressional Districts:
Texas’ Congressional districts have a higher level of gerrymandering than the state legislative districts.
In the 2018 midterms, Democrats won 47% of the votes but only won 36% of the seats (13 of 36 of the seats.). That means Democrats are short roughly 4-5 seats.
The Texas Constitution does not define any standards for how our congressional districts are drawn. That means that we can modify their redistricting process by passing a state statute.
The backup commission is not allowed to draw congressional districts.
Call or write your elected official this week!
“Hi, My name is ________, and I’m a constituent of Rep/Sen __________. I am calling today to discuss redistricting reform for our U.S. congressional districts. In the 2018 midterms, Democrats won 47% of the votes but only won 36% of the seats (13 of 36 of the seats.) Since our electoral system is founded on the principle that every American is guaranteed the freedom to choose their own elected officials, I would like to urge Rep/Senator _______ to cosponsor legislation that would create an independent redistricting commission for *only* our U.S. congressional districts. Such a commission could be created by passing a state statute, since the Texas State Constitution does not specify any standards for the state’s congressional districts.
And, unlike Texas’ state legislative districts, our state law does not set a particular deadline for drawing congressional district lines, and the Backup Commission is not permitted to work on these plans. That means that the Legislature has until January 2, 2022 to pass new plans into law. We want the Legislature to use that time to collect more testimony from the public about what their community looks like, so that the maps reflect our state’s diversity."
Possible phone call response: “Extending the timeline to draw these maps would force the Governor to call a Special Session.”
Your response: “The cost of a Special Session is far less than what the state has spent defending the maps in the courts since 2011, a total which has far surpassed $5 million.”
Don’t forget to swing back to the Fair Maps Texas link and log your feedback on how the conversation went!