House: 67 Democrats, 83 Republicans
To Flip Blue: 9 Seats
Democrats need 9 seats in the Texas House to gain majority. That might seem like a lot, but it’s not – there are 150 seats in the chamber. Democrats gained 12 seats in the House in 2018, the biggest shift in the House since Republicans stormed through in 2010. Momentum is now on our side.
There are 9 House seats currently held by a Republican, where Beto O’Rourke won in 2018 (in some cases by as much as 60%). Even if we just won those seats, we could flip the chamber. There are other great pickup opportunities too, including in suburban areas where Democrats narrowly lost state house seats in 2018.
Texas is currently a Republican trifecta. Winning this chamber will break the trifecta and provide Democrats with a critical seat at the table for redistricting, so that Republicans cannot repeat the horrible gerrymandering that has kept them locked in to power for decades.
These are ‘last chance’ races: whoever is elected in 2020 will draw the next round of district lines.
49.6 % | 50.4%
White: 74.31%; Black: 12.07%; Asian: 4.69%; Two+ races: 2.62%; Other: 5.74%
Electoral Votes: 0
Electoral Votes: 36
In Texas, both congressional and state legislative district boundaries are drawn by the Texas State Legislature. These lines are subject to veto by the governor.
If the state legislature is unable to approve a state legislative redistricting plan, a backup commission must draw the lines. This backup commission, established in 1948, comprises the following members:
The Texas Constitution requires that state legislative districts be contiguous and “that they preserve whole counties when population mandates permit.”
Texas has 36 seats in the House of Representatives, so according to statewide voting patterns 19 of those seats should be filled by Republicans, and 17 of them should be occupied by Democrats. Instead, Texas is represented by 23 Republicans and only 13 Democrats.
Texas’ congressional and state legislative district maps that were drawn after the 2010 census have been subject to litigation. On June 25, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States reversed a district court decision striking down several congressional and state legislative district maps as unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.
from the Brennan Center 2019 Report:
New restriction enacted in 2019: Cut back use of mobile early voting sites.
New restriction in place since 2016 election: Photo ID required if a voter has one, but an alternative will be available for those who present a non-photo ID from a preset list and execute an affidavit claiming to have certain, enumerated reasonable impediments to obtaining photo ID. Reasonable impediment alternative is more restrictive than the alternative in place in 2016.
New restriction(s) in place for the first time in 2016: Photo ID required if a voter has one, but an alternative will be available for those who have a reasonable impediment to obtaining ID.
Restriction(s) in place for the first time in 2012: Curbed voter registration drives.
Background: In 2012, a federal court blocked the 2011 photo ID law under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The state then implemented the requirement after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted Section 5 in 2013, and a photo ID was required to vote for the first time in a federal election in 2014.
In July 2016, the full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the strict photo ID law discriminates against minority voters, and therefore cannot be enforced against those who lack ID. In August 2016, a federal court approved an agreement that will allow voters with an obstacle to obtaining photo ID to cast a regular ballot in November 2016 after showing one of a much larger number of IDs and signing a declaration. In June 2017, in response to the litigation, Texas enacted a new voter ID law that is currently in place.
A Republican-controlled legislature passed the restriction on voter registration drives and the strict photo ID law in 2011, and both were signed by a GOP governor.