Expressing Disappointment that Governor Perry calls Special Session
June 18, 2003
Washington, DC - By calling for a special session today on Congressional Redistricting, Governor Perry has shown that he is more interested in playing partisan politics like in Washington. A special session will cost at least $1.7 million when the state is reducing health care for seniors, children and education funding.
We have a Congressional plan that has been approved by a bipartisan three judge panel, it has been ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court to be constitutional and in compliance with the Voting Rights Act, and elections have been held using these lines. While the districts created by the court elected 17 Democrats and 15 Republicans in 2002, statewide Republican candidates carried 20 of the 32 Congressional districts. Democrats have prevailed in these districts only because they can and do win the votes of ticket-splitters.
The main premise for redrawing Congressional Districts is that Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives receive more votes than their Democratic counterparts. Their argument is wrong and is unconstitutional. Districts are drawn based on population, not on voters.
After the 2000 Census, each Congressional District in Texas has a population of 651,620. Among the 32 districts, the number of registered voters, as well as those who exercise the right to vote, varies.
Some districts, for example the 29th Congressional District, has a little more than 223,000 registered voters with about 72,000 having participated in the last election. By contrast, the 8th Congressional District has about 368,000 registered voters and more than 157,000 voted in the last election. Both districts have equal population.
The United States Constitution requires that states establish congressional districts that are equal in population, under the one man, one vote principle. This means that everyone, regardless of whether they are registered to vote or actually vote, deserves to be represented in the United States Congress.
Redistricting is a serious constitutional matter. It is not a childish do-over when it does not meet your partisan whims. In a democracy, voters should choose their representatives; representatives should never choose voters.