Texas

Overview

Texas Redistricting Process

Congressional and Legislative

Congressional and legislative maps are enacted by the State Legislature. The Governor can veto the plans.

The Legislature can override a veto with a two-thirds vote. No party currently has a veto-proof majority in either chamber.

Legislative

If the Legislature cannot enact a legislative plan, the five-member Legislative Redistricting Board of Texas is given the responsibility. The Board consists of the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the Texas House, the Texas Attorney General, the Comptroller of Public Accounts, and the Commissioner of the General Land Office.

The Legislative Redistricting Board of Texas meets in Austin no less than 90 days after the adjournment of the regular session in a redistricting year. Before 60 days have passed since the first Board meeting, the Board draws new state legislative maps as the failure of action of the Texas Legislature makes necessary. The final redistricting plan is submitted in writing and must be signed by at least three Commissioners. It becomes law upon submission to the Secretary of State of Texas.

Source: Tex. Const. art. III, §§ 26, 28.


Previous Redistricting Cycles

2010

  • Congressional
    • Original PlanSB 4
      • Passed = June 20, 2011 (R-controlled)
      • Signed = July 18, 2011
      • Preclearance = Denied on August 28, 2012
    • Second PlanSB 4
      • Passed = June 21, 2013 (R-controlled)
      • Signed = June 26, 2013
    • Litigation History
      • Texas v. United States, 831 F.Supp.2d 244 (D.D.C. 2011): Texas submitted its enacted congressional and legislative plans to the Washington D.C. federal district court for preclearance, objections to which were filed by the United States and various intervenors. On November 8, 2011, the district court denied the state’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the state used an improper standard to evaluate its plans’ effect on minority voting rights and there existed material facts in dispute as to their compliance with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
        • Vacated, 133 S.Ct. 2885 (2013): U.S. Supreme Court vacated and remanded for further consideration in light of Shelby County v. Holder and the possibility of mootness.
      • Texas v. United States II, 887 F.Supp.2d 133 (D.D.C. 2012): After Texas submitted its enacted congressional and legislative plans to the D.C. federal district court for preclearance, the district court denied preclearance as to all three sets of plans on August 28, 2012.Perez v. Perry, No. 5:11-cv-00360 (W.D. Tex. Nov. 26, 2011): Following the D.C. district court’s denial of preclearance to the state’s enacted congressional plan, a federal court was petitioned to adopt interim redistricting plans in time for the upcoming 2012 elections. On November 26, 2011, the district court adopted its congressional redistricting plan, Plan C220, for interim use in the 2012 election.
        • Perry v. Perez, 565 U.S. 388 (2012): Texas appealed the district court’s adopted interim redistricting plans, arguing they were unnecessarily inconsistent with the State’s enacted plans. On January 20, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with Texas’s argument, vacated the district court’s order and remanded the case to allow the district court to redraw its maps or to justify why it deviated from the state’s enacted plans.
      • Perez v. Perry, No. 5:11-cv-00360 (W.D. Tex. Mar. 19, 2012): On remand, the district court adopted its second interim congressional redistricting plan, Plan C235, on February 28, 2012.
      • Perez v. Perry II, 26 F.Supp.3d 612 (W.D. Tex. 2014): Plaintiffs challenged the Legislature’s second enacted congressional plan, SB 4, as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander in violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, Article I, Sections 2 and 4 of the U.S. Constitution, and the 1st Amendment. On June 17, 2014, the district court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the partisan gerrymandering claims due to the lack of a clear and manageable standard to evaluate them.
  • Legislative
    • Original PlansHB 150 (House); SB 31 (Senate)
      • Passed = May 21, 2011 (R-controlled)
      • Signed = June 17, 2011
      • Preclearance = Denied on August 28, 2012
    • Second PlansSB 3 (House); SB 2 (Senate)
      • Passed = June 23, 2013 (House); June 21, 2013 (Senate) (R-controlled)
      • Signed = June 26, 2013
    • Litigation History
      • Texas v. United States, 831 F.Supp.2d 244 (D.D.C. 2011): Texas submitted its enacted congressional and legislative plans to the Washington D.C. federal district court for preclearance, objections to which were filed by the United States and various intervenors. On November 8, 2011, the district court denied the state’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the state used an improper standard to evaluate its plans’ effect on minority voting rights and there existed material facts in dispute as to their compliance with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
        • Vacated, 133 S.Ct. 2885 (2013): U.S. Supreme Court vacated and remanded for further consideration in light of Shelby County v. Holder and the possibility of mootness.
      • Texas v. United States II, 887 F.Supp.2d 133 (D.D.C. 2012): After Texas submitted its enacted congressional and legislative plans to the D.C. federal district court for preclearance, the district court denied preclearance as to all three sets of plans on August 28, 2012.
      • Perez v. Perry, 835 F.Supp.2d 209 (W.D. Tex. 2011): After the D.C. district court denied preclearance to the Legislature’s enacted congressional and legislative plans, a federal court was petitioned to adopt interim redistricting plans in time for the upcoming 2012 elections. On November 23, 2011, the district court adopted its state House redistricting plan, Plan H302, for interim use in the 2012 elections.
        • Davis v. Perry, No. 5:11-cv-00788 (W.D. Tex. Nov. 23, 2011): Following the D.C. district court’s denial of preclearance to the state’s enacted redistricting plans, the district court adopted its state Senate redistricting plan, Plan S164, for interim use in the 2012 election on November 23, 2011.
        • Perry v. Perez, 565 U.S. 388 (2012): Texas appealed the district court’s adopted interim redistricting plans, arguing they were unnecessarily inconsistent with the State’s enacted plans. On January 20, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with Texas’s argument, vacated the district court’s order and remanded the case to allow the district court to redraw its maps or to justify why it deviated from the state’s enacted plans.
      • Perez v. Texas, No. 5:11-cv-00360 (W.D. Tex. Mar. 19, 2012): On remand, the district court issued its second interim state House redistricting plan, Plan H309, on March 19, 2012.
      • Davis v. Perry, No. 5:11-cv-00788 (W.D. Tex. Mar. 19, 2012): On remand, the district court issued its second interim state Senate redistricting plan, Plan S172, on March 19, 2012.
      • Evenwel v. Abbott, 136 S.Ct. 1120 (2016): Plaintiffs filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Legislature’s second state Senate plan, SB 2, as violating the 14th Amendment’s one person, one vote principle on the grounds that certain Senate districts, which were apportioned based on total population, were substantially malapportioned when considering their citizen voting age population. On November 5, 2014, the district court ruled in favor of the defendants, and on April 4, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s judgment.
      • Abbott v. Perez, 138 S.Ct. 2305 (2018): Plaintiffs challenged the Legislature’s second enacted state House plan as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander in violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and as resulting in vote dilution in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The district court, after requiring the State to show that their second plan was “purged” of the taint from the first, rejected plan, initially struck down several districts as racial gerrymanders or as resulting in vote dilution. On June 25, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the district court’s judgment as to those districts struck down on VRA grounds but affirmed its ruling as to one of the districts found to be an impermissible racial gerrymander.
        • Remedial State House PlanH 411
          • Approved by Court = May 28, 2019

2000

  • Congressional
    • State Court’s Plan (Split-control Legislature failed to pass)
      • Issued = October 10, 2001
      • Rejected by Texas Supreme Court = October 19, 2001
    • Federal Court’s Plan
      • Adopted = November 14, 2001
      • Used for 2002 election
    • Legislature’s Amended PlanHB 3
      • Passed = October 12, 2003 (R-controlled)
      • Signed = October 13, 2003
      • Preclearance = Granted on December 19, 2003
    • Litigation History
      • Perry v. Del Rio, 66 S.W.3d 239 (Tex. 2001): After the split-control Legislature failed to pass a congressional redistricting plan, four different lawsuits in two different state courts were filed challenging the existing districts as unconstitutionally malapportioned and requesting that the court adopt a new, constitutional plan. On December 12, 2001, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the Travis County District Court had dominant jurisdiction over the redistricting actions, and ordered that the cases proceed to trial there.
        • Perry v. Del Rio, 67 S.W.3d 85 (Tex. 2001): After trial, the Travis County District Court ordered the adoption of a congressional redistricting plan on October 10, 2001, which the defendants appealed on the grounds the trial court failed to give the parties an opportunity to comment and to submit evidence about the new plan. On October 19, 2001, the Texas Supreme Court vacated the trial court’s October 10 order and remanded the case, finding that the court’s process when adopting the interim plan violated the parties’ state constitutional due process rights.
      • Balderas v. State, No. 6:01-cv-158 (E.D. Tex. Nov. 14, 2001): After the Texas Supreme Court vacated the Travis County District Court’s adoption of a congressional plan, a federal court assumed responsibility to draw and adopt a new plan. On November 14, 2001, the district court adopted its own congressional redistricting plan for use in the upcoming 2002 election.
        • Aff’d, 536 U.S. 919 (2002).
      • League of United Latin Am. Citizens v. Perry, 548 U.S. 399 (2006): After the Legislature enacted its 2003 congressional plan (HB 3), several different plaintiffs filed federal lawsuits challenging the plan as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander in violation of the 1st Amendment and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, and as resulting in minority vote dilution in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. On June 28, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that one of the districts violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and remanded the case to district court with instructions to correct the violations by the 2006 election.
  • Legislative
    • Backup Commission’s Plans – House; Senate (Split-control Legislature failed to pass)
      • Passed = July 24, 2001
      • Preclearance = Granted as to Senate plan on October 15, 2001; Denied as to House plan on November 16, 2001
    • Litigation History
      • Balderas v. State, No. 6:01-cv-158 (E.D. Tex. Nov. 28, 2001): Plaintiffs challenged the Legislative Redistricting Board’s adopted state House and Senate plans as violating the Voting Rights Act. On November 28, 2001, the district court rejected the challenges to the state Senate plan after finding the plaintiffs failed to establish violations of federal law, but ruled in favor of the plaintiffs as to their claims against the state House plan, which had been denied preclearance already. The district court created its own state House plan to address the Department of Justice’s objections and adopted it for use in future elections.

Ballot Measure Process

Kinds of Ballot Measures
Only the Texas Legislature may refer amendments to the ballot. There is no initiative or referendum process.

Source: Tex. Const. art. XVII.


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