Monday, April 25, 2011

Texas redistricting: Latinos hope redrawn districts will give them a voice

Texas redistricting: Latinos hope redrawn districts will give them a voice - latimes.com

The explosive growth of Latinos is obvious everywhere in Texas but among the state's elected officials — something Latinos hope will change as lawmakers redraw the state's congressional and legislative districts this spring.

"It would just give us a voice," said Tiffany Tellez, 21, who works as a technician in a hospital radiology unit. "A lot of people are afraid to speak up. We need someone to lean on and relate to, and to speak for us."

That presents a quandary for the Republican legislators who control the redistricting process. Latinos lean Democratic, and their growth threatens to eventually undermine the GOP's domination of Texas. But the federal Voting Rights Act prohibits legislators from diluting minority voting power as they draw congressional districts.

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