HD105: The final vote count shows Rep. Rodney Anderson (R-Grand Prairie) defeating Terry Meza by 64 votes. A recount will be conducted on November 28.
Voter ID: The U.S. Dept. of Justice argued in a new filing that “discriminatory impact was not merely an unintended consequence” of the state’s voter ID law, but was “in part” its purpose. AG Ken Paxton countered that plaintiffs’ “treasure trove of privileged legislative material … could proffer no evidence that any legislator harbored even a private intention to disenfranchise minority voters … much less that the full Legislature enacted the law for the purpose of discriminating on the basis of race.” Reply briefs are due December 16, and oral arguments in the case of Veasey v. Abbott are scheduled to begin January 24 in the court of Federal District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos. Meanwhile, Paxton’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court remains pending.
Straight-ticket Repeal: Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton) filed a bill that would eliminate the option of voting a straight partisan with a single mark or similar action. House Bill 433 represents Simmons’s second attempt at repealing straight-ticket voting. In 2015, his House Bill 1288 was left pending in the House Elections Committee after a public hearing. That bill was opposed by both major political parties, the Texas NAACP and the County and District Clerks Assoc. of Texas, among others. It received the support of the state’s two minor parties with 2016 ballot access and the Texas Farm Bureau.
Wisconsin Gerrymandering. A panel of federal judges has struck down the districts for the Wisconsin Assembly after finding the maps were “intended to burden the representational rights of Democratic voters … by impeding their ability to translate their votes into legislative seats.” The court ruled that the “discriminatory effect is not explained by the political geography of Wisconsin” and thus “constitutes an unconstitutional political gerrymander.” The ruling does not touch on Senate districts, but they will be changed because each is comprised by three Assembly districts. Republicans won 64 of the 99 seats in the Assembly earlier this month, giving the party its largest majority since Eisenhower was president. No remedy was provided by the court, likely giving the legislature the ability to redraw the districts. A Texas case has been pending for more than two years in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.