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17 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Soc. Just. 713 (2007-2008)
Voting Rights in Texas: 1982-2006

handle is hein.journals/scws17 and id is 723 raw text is: VOTING RIGHTS IN TEXAS: 1982-2006
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) has been indispensable to
guaranteeing minority voters access to the ballot in Texas. Texas has ex-
perienced a long history of voting discrimination against its Latino and Af-
rican-American citizens dating back to 1845.' The enactment of the VRA
in 1965 began a process of integrating Latinos, African-Americans and,
more recently, Asian-Americans into the political structures of Texas. Yet,
a review of the minority voting experience in Texas since the 1982 VRA
reauthorization indicates that this process remains incomplete. Infringe-
ments on minority voting rights persist, and noncompliance with the VRA
continues at the state and local level. The VRA has proven to be an essen-
tial tool for enhancing minority inclusion in Texas.
Texas is home to the second-largest Latino population in the United
States, and demographic projections show that by 2040, Latinos will con-
stitute the majority of citizens in the state.2 Texas also possesses a growing
Asian-American population and an African-American population of more
than two million.3 The increasing number of racial and ethnic minority
citizens in Texas highlights the need to protect vigilantly the voice and
electoral rights of the state's minority electorate.
Section 5 of the VRA, the preclearance requirement, was extended to
Texas in 19754 due to the state's history of excluding Mexican-Americans
* Nina Perales, Southwest Regional Counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Edu-
cational Fund. Luis Figueroa, Legislative Staff Attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and
Educational Fund. Criselda G. Rivas, Master's Candidate, Department of Sociology, The University of
Texas at San Antonio.
1 See infra Part II.
2 See infra Part III.
3 See infra Part III.
4 See Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1975: Partial List of Determinations, 40 Fed. Reg.
43,746 (Sept. 18, 1975).


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