Partisan Redistricting and the 2020 Census

On June 25, 2018 a Supreme Court ruling on redistricting gave advocates of voting rights hope for future fairer voting patterns. Protests Texas Democrats already had scheduled for that day gained more meaning as the Court delivered a complex ruling mostly upholding Texas redistricting in Abbot v. Perez. https://www.scribd.com/document/382529759/Abbot-Et-Al-v-Perez-Et-Al-Opinion

The Supreme Court upheld maps for Texas' congressional and state house districts, ruling that most of them were not "tainted" by racial discrimination. It did, however, rule that House District 90 was gerrymandered against Latinos.

Texas advocates say they already were planning to launch a "RestoreTheVote" campaign, attacking the Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, which they argue "gutted" the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA).

Partisan political and racial gerrymandering distorts and undermines representative democracy by allowing officials to select their voters rather than voters to elect their officials. When done for purposes of racial discrimination or to ensure the dominance of one political party, gerrymandering runs counter to equal voting rights for all eligible voters. [lwv.org]

Given the Supreme Court’s apparent indifference, across the country independent maps will not be drawn until popular sentiment forces a change. There is a growing cry across Texas for fair maps and candidates for November’s election will be asked to take a clear side, and advocates hope voters hold them to their commitments.

But no maps from any process will be accurate if the underlying numbers aren’t right. That’s why the next fight is the 2020 Census. It is critical that 2020 US Census results reflect the actual demographics, and given the trends of shifting populations, Texas in particular may fail to show who actually resides here.

In March, the US Commerce Department announced the decision to put a citizenship question on the Census, laying the groundwork for an inaccurate and costly 2020 Census. Since 1950, the Census Department has been able to conduct a scientifically accurate census count without this question, and presidential administrations have refrained from making the census a political target. An accurate count of our population is important not only for determining how many representatives our state will have but also for allocating billions of dollars in federal funds and grants annually.

 

New LWV Bylaws Amendments

At the July 23, 2018 membership meeting, members adopted the following board-recommended amendments to the bylaws of LWV-Tyler/Smith County

Bylaws Changes Recommended to Article II for transition to a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization

ARTICLE II. PURPOSES AND POLICY     Section 1. Purposes

a.  The purposes of the LWVTX are to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation in government and to act on selected governmental issues. 

b. The corporation is organized and operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes underSection 501(c(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code. 

Notwithstanding any other provision of these bylaws, the corporation shall not carry on any other..activities not permitted to be carried on by a corporation exempt from federal income tax under such..provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. No substantial part of the activities of the corporation shall be attempting to influence legislation.

JUSTIFICATION: Recommended by Legal Team to define LWV-Tyler/Smith County as a charitable and educational organization to conform with Section 501(c)(3)of the US IRS Code

Bylaws Changes to Conform with LWVUS Article III

Article III      Section 2. Types of Membership.

A. Voting Members. Persons at least 16 years of age who join the League shall be voting members of local Leagues, state Leagues, and of the LWVUS; (1) those who live within an area of a local League may join that League or any other local League; (2) those who reside outside the area of any local League may join a local League or shall be state members-at-large; (3) those who have been members of the League for 50 years or more shall be life members excused from the payment of dues.

B. Associate Members. All others who join the League shall be associate members.

JUSTIFICATION: Expands Option for Membership in the League Lowers membership age from 18 to 16 and changes word Citizens to Persons