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Texas Minority Lawmakers: Keep Voting Rights Act

Bobby Blanchard

Representatives from minority groups are asking Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to stop fighting Section Five of the Voting Rights Act.

This Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on theShelby County v. Holder case, which challenges Section Five of the Voting Rights Act. That's the part of the act that requires federal approval of any changes to voting requirements.

While the Shelby County v. Holder case originated in Alabama, Texas State Representative Trey Martinez Fisher said this case resembles Texas cases that might be heard by the Supreme Court. Abbott's appeal of a decision that deeming Texas’ new redistricting maps discriminatory also challenges Section Five.

The Supreme Court has not decided to hear the Texas case yet, and they are not likely to do so until ruling on the Shelby County v. Holder case. But Martinez said Texas’s history with voting rights is an example of why Section Five is needed. 

"Texas has really created a textbook example as to why we need the voting rights act in Texas," Martinez said. "I think we have lots of evidence in both the Texas redistricting case and the voter ID case that will suggest really clearly just what could happen without Section Five.” 

Martinez was representing the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. He was joined by representatives from theTexas Legislative Black Caucus and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDF)

"Section V is at the heart of the voting rights act,"  Figueroa of the MALDF said. "Without Section V, many of this discriminatory laws would go into effect." 

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