We have long been arguing that the Texas Two-Step unfairly disadvantages various categories of voters.
Today, the AP is reporting:
Latino voters celebrated a federal court ruling Tuesday that came down against the Texas Democratic Party and could put the complicated “Texas Two-step” presidential delegate system in jeopardy.
The ruling by a three-judge panel will allow the lawsuit to go forward and put the Texas delegate system closer to facing a potential review by the Justice Department, which Latino advocates sought in the aftermath of last year’s intense Democratic primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
In a lawsuit filed last year, the Latino groups argued that the way Texas Democrats awarded presidential delegates unfairly discriminated against Latinos by awarding fewer presidential delegates to heavily Hispanic areas. They did not contest to whom the delegates were awarded, but rather how the allotment was made.
Here is a copy of the decision.
Luis Vera is the council for LULAC. The civil rights organization is suing the Texas Democratic Party over it’s Texas Two Step primary system.
August 14, 2009 ·In March 2008 Texas was swept up in presidential primary fever and the Democratic Party was doing the “Texas Two-Step.” When it was ove, Senator Hillary Clinton won the most votes, but it was Barack Obama who walked away with the most delegates. Luis Vera the lawyer for LULAC, the League of United Latin-American Citizens, said this happened because votes of many Latinos were diluted and weakened by arbitrary rules in place the Democratic Party.
“The seven Latino majority senatorial districts were allotted less delegates to the democratic national committee than any of the other 24 senatorial districts,” said Vera.
Vera is set to argue in federal court that the “Texas Two-Step” is a violation of the Voting Rights Act. The Texas Democratic Party is claiming the Voting Rights Act does not apply to political parties. But Vera says the Democratic Party has a history of setting up obstacles to minority primary voters in Texas and across the south.
“The irony of this whole court fight is they want to claim they are the champion of the voting rights act, but as long as it applies to everyone else – and not themselves. And that’s a pretty sad situation,” Vera stated.
This is the second time LULAC brought this suit. It was originally dismissed but the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling.
The Democratic National Committee’s Democratic Change Commission is accepting input on how to improve the delegate selection process for the 2012 election. Please click here to go to their website and fill out the feedback form to tell the DNC not to allow Texas to use its hybrid primary/caucus process to allocate delegates. Currently, Texas is the only state that uses a combined primary and caucus system to allocate delegates. In order to use its unfair system, the TDP has had to get a waiver from the DNC because DNC rules normally prohibit the kind of hybrid system that Texas uses.
If you send your comments by Friday, August 21, the comments may be presented to the members of the Commission at their next meeting on August 29.
Here is the press release announcing the Change Commission:
Washington, D.C. — Today, Governor Tim Kaine, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, announced the 37 member Democratic Change Commission, which will recommend changes to the Democratic Party’s rules for the 2012 presidential nominating and delegate selection process. Governor Kaine also announced that he has named Congressman James E. Clyburn of South Carolina and Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri as Co-Chairs of the Change Commission.
“This Commission will focus on reform that improves the presidential nominating process to put voters first and ensure that as many people as possible can participate,” said Kaine. “I want to thank all the members of the Commission who have agreed to serve, including Congressman Clyburn and Senator McCaskill who have graciously agreed to serve as co-chairs.”
Governor Kaine went on to say that he hopes to work with the Republican National Committee on a common approach that puts voters first.
President Obama first announced his intention to form the Democratic Change Commission in August 2008, during his presidential campaign. Delegates to the Democratic National Convention adopted President Obama’s proposal on Monday, August 25, 2008.
The Democratic Change Commission will address three issues: 1) changing the window of time during which primaries and caucuses may be held 2) reducing the number of superdelegates and 3) improving the caucus system. A copy of the convention resolution establishing the Commission is below. The Commission must issue its report and recommendations to the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee no later than January 1, 2010.
The Commission is made up of 35 members and two co-chairs and represents a diverse mix of DNC members, elected officials, representatives of State Parties, academics, labor, business, grassroots activists and other Party leaders.
The Texas Two-Step is unfair because it dilutes the voting strength of people who vote in the primary but do not return for the caucuses. Many people can not attend caucuses because of reasons beyond their control, such as their age, their health, or they may have young children, or they may work or attend school in the evenings, or they may be in the military and stationed overseas. Others may just be unaware that to fully support their chosen candidate they have to “vote twice”. Almost 2.9 million people voted in the Democratic primary, but only about one-third of the people who voted in the primary returned for the caucuses. So around 2,000,000 people voted in the primary but did not return for the caucuses. Those people who did not return lost a full third of their voting power.