Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) -- An alternative to the congressional redistricting map approved by Texas Governor Rick Perry was requested by federal judges seeking to avoid any delays in the 2012 elections.
The state’s new districts, created by Republican lawmakers and approved by Perry, can’t be implemented until a federal court in Washington or the U.S. Justice Department pre-clears them, a process required of all states with a history of voting violations.
The Obama Administration has opposed the maps, and the Washington federal court won’t hear arguments in the matter until Nov. 2, about six weeks before the candidate filing deadline for Texas’s primaries.
“The court has an obligation to the public to consider other available options so that the 2012 election process may move forward,” U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia said in an order yesterday in the San Antonio court. He asked voting-rights groups challenging the state’s maps to help the judges “prepare a possible interim plan that may be implemented as a fair and workable alternative.”
Hispanic voting-rights groups and lawmakers whose jobs were threatened by the new maps sued Perry claiming the state’s new districts will keep Latinos out of office. Texas gained four new congressional seats after adding 4.3 million residents since 2000, more than 60 percent of whom are Hispanic.
The case is Perez v. Perry, 5:11-cv-0360, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas (San Antonio).
--Editors: Peter Blumberg, Michael Hytha
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