Texas Population Boom Should Help Democrats, But GOP Still Draws Voting Boundaries

State surge in non-white residents could make statewide elections more competitive.

By Terri LangfordMay 12, 2021 3:16 pm,

For years, Texas Democrats have bet on the dramatic rise in the state’s non-white population as the key to turning the state blue.

However, a mostly white Republican majority here still holds the redistricting pen when drawing voting boundaries. And that means, it’s more than likely that the GOP will benefit from the growth which has given the state two more congressional seats.

Still, Texas Democrats are hopeful that the rise in non-white voters could make statewide elections more competitive, according to Arelis Hernandez, a reporter for The Washington Post, based in San Antonio.

“I think it makes them hopeful, particularly with statewide races,” Hernandez said. “That means they’ll have more potential voters to vote for statewide candidates.”

Voters are not confined to a district when electing someone to statewide office, so redrawn boundaries will not dictate who can vote, for example, in the governor’s race.

But non-white voters’ election power could be diluted through redistricting.

“The flip side of that is that they do not hold the pen for redrawing these maps. And when we’re talking about congressional House seats, that certainly leaves Democrats in the same place they were, which is at a disadvantage,”  Hernandez said.

Redrawing voter boundaries occurs every 10 years, after the Census Bureau releases population figures that determine how many sheets in Congress each state can fill. State legislatures redraw the boundaries.

As a topic, redistricting usually fails to interest voters.

“Redistricting  is not a captivating subject for a lot of voters,” Hernandez said. “And it’s complicated. And when it starts getting, when you start getting those legal challenges, it gets even more complicated and it’s hard for people to keep track of what’s happening. So there’s a lot of education that would need to take place in order for the public to be engaged in that process.”

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