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Opinion: Democrat redistricting plans violate Voting Rights Act, deny Hispanics fair representation

Date:

SUBMITTED RELEASE FROM THE REPUBLICAN SENATE CAUCUS

Democrat redistricting plans in the Nevada Senate and Nevada Assembly violate the Voting Rights Act and fail to ensure fair representation for Hispanics, according to the Republican legislators.

In a cynical attempt to ensure a decade of Democrat dominance in the Nevada Legislature, Democrats have illegally “packed” Hispanics into districts and ignored provisions in the Voting Rights Act prohibiting the “fracturing” of minority communities.

In 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act to ensure that states did not use the redistricting process as a means to dilute the voting strength of minority communities.

Specifically, the Voting Rights Act works to protect against two types of redistricting-‐related harms: fracturing and packing. “Fracturing” occurs when a group of minority voters is broken off from a concentration of minority voters and added to a large majority white district. “Packing” occurs when a minority group is concentrated into one or more districts so that the group constitutes an overwhelming majority in those districts, thus minimizing the number of districts in which the minority could elect candidates of its choice.

According to the 2010 Census, Hispanics represent more than 26 percent of Nevada’s population. Yet the Democrat State Senate plan creates only two majority-Hispanic districts, which is only 9.5 percent of all the seats within the body. In the Assembly, Democrats created only three majority-­Hispanic districts, which is only 7.1 percent of all the seats. And, in two of those Assembly districts, the Democrats “packed” Hispanics.

Democrat redistricting maps illegally “fracture” the Hispanic community by breaking a cohesive community into pieces. Democrats are making it more difficult for Hispanics to elect Hispanic candidates to represent their community.

There are currently nine Hispanics in the Legislature – seven in the Assembly and two in the Senate. The Republican plan creates a total of 12 majority-­Hispanic legislative districts, while the Democrat plan creates only five. Seven of those districts in the Republican plan are currently not represented by Hispanics, which gives Hispanics seven new opportunities to elect Hispanic candidates. Seven new Hispanic legislators would mean a total of 19 Hispanics in Nevada’s legislature, or roughly 30 percent of the entire body.

Under the Democrat redistricting plans, there would be NO opportunities for Hispanics to increase their representation in the Nevada Legislature.

Democrats have “fractured” and “packed” the Hispanic community for one simple reason: they want to guarantee control of the Nevada Legislature for the next 10 years. The Democrat Senate plan creates 13 districts likely to elect Democrats, 5 districts likely to Republicans and 3 competitive districts. In contrast, the Republican Senate plan creates 9 districts likely to elect Democrats, 4 districts likely to elect Republicans and 8 competitive districts.

The Democrat Assembly plan creates 26 districts likely to elect Democrats, 8 districts likely to elect Republicans and 8 competitive districts. The Republican Assembly plan creates 20 districts likely to elect Democrats, 8 districts likely to elect Republicans and 14 competitive districts.

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