TEXAS REDISTRICTING & ELECTION LAW

Updates about ongoing redistricting litigation in the Lone Star State and coverage of election law more generally. This website's goal is to try to make sure the redistricting process and litigation over voting law is as transparent and accessible as possible to the public. Hopefully, it will be of some use to a broad range of interested parties, both lawyers and non-lawyers. Have questions, comments, suggestions, additional content, or a redistricting joke (or two)? Feel free to contact me: Michael Li, michael.li@mlilaw.com, 202.681.0641.
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The Census Bureau is out with its eagerly awaited estimate of 2012 voter turnout by ethnicity.

For 2012, the Bureau estimates that nationwide 64.1% of citizen voting age Anglos, 66.2% of African-Americans, 48% of Hispanics, and 47.3% of Asians voted in 2012.

While the impact of the nation’s growing Hispanic population on the 2012 election has gotten a lot of media play (deservedly), the turnout ‘wonder story’ of 2012 looks to involve African-Americans, not Hispanics.  

Most groups in 2012, including Hispanics, saw falls in turnout.  But African-American turnout reached a historic high, with African-Americans outvoting Anglos for the first time - ever.  By contrast, while more Hispanics than ever voted, that looks to be a product of increasing numbers, not of increasing turnout rates.

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The national trends also largely held for Texas - though in the case of Texas, Asians (42.4%) outvoted Hispanics (38.8%).

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But, of course, any comparison of national and Texas figures has to take into account that national figures are skewed by the fact that about quarter of all US Hispanics live in Texas (another quarter live in California).  

Looking at Hispanic turnout broken down by key states, Texas’ continuing Hispanic turnout challenge remains glaring.

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By contrast, turnout among Texas African-Americans largely held its own compared with other states with significant African-American populations.

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Overall, though, Texas 2012 looks to be not that different from 2008.

One last chart:  According to Census Bureau estimates, the 2012 voter universe in Texas (people who actually voted) remained Anglo dominated.

By generally accepted estimates, Hispanics in Texas now make up about 27% of the state’s citizen voting age population but still underperformed  as a share of the actual turnout universe - and probably even more so considering that Census surveys overstate overall turnout by about 8% and more so with both Hispanics and African-Americans (more on that in a separate post).

And therein lies the nub for Democrats.