By legislation, redistricting happens in Texas as soon as each 10 years. Is that this yr extra vital than ordinary?
CORASANITI What’s crucial this yr is that a number of the guardrails in terms of redistricting have been eroded within the federal courtroom. The Supreme Courtroom in 2019 stated federal courts aren’t the place to problem partisan gerrymandering. And in 2013 there was an enormous landmark case that hollowed out one of many core provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965: Preclearance. States with a historical past of discrimination — there have been 9 states, Texas was one in every of them — used to must get any adjustments to voting legal guidelines or maps cleared by the Division of Justice, they usually didn’t have to try this this yr. And it’s additionally approaching the heels of a fairly protracted assault on entry to voting, which makes it all of the extra vital that we maintain a really shut eye on what’s occurring.
From a graphics standpoint, what are you on the lookout for?
ELLA KOEZE Sources in Texas who’re conversant in the political geography of the state and the place completely different populations dwell inform us which areas to take a look at. As an example, there’s a brand new district in Houston, so we wished to zoom in on that. From there, we’re making an attempt to make the map as clear as we are able to and embody solely the issues that may illustrate that time, labeling solely what we have to label. We would like the graphics to make it straightforward for readers to see the precise mechanism at work that’s driving this large course of that’s so basic to our democracy.
What have been you hoping to indicate with this text?
DENISE LU We wished to visually present readers how sure districts in Texas are going to be very completely different from how they’re now, and the way a number of these new districts would change in partisan lean. Redistricting is inherently such a map-based idea, so it was apparent we might be using maps in how we present these adjustments, however we actually wished to emphasise simply how the brand new districts can be parceled alongside partisan strains.
How lengthy do legislators spend parsing how to attract these maps for optimum benefit?
CORASANITI It looks like, while you take a look at the calendar, they known as a particular session and did this in only a few days, proper? However that couldn’t be farther from the reality. The legislature and state events take a look at each election over the whole decade, analyzing each change and swing, and seeing the place populations are shifting and voters are relocating, to be prepared when redistricting arrives.
Is there any authorized recourse for the opposing get together?
CORASANITI The one actual recourse — and that is going to be the second wave of redistricting reporting — is lawsuits. They have been fairly frequent within the final cycle. Some have been very profitable, like in North Carolina, which was compelled to redraw its maps twice between 2011 and 2020 after they have been discovered to be discriminatory.