3.9k Share this

The Justice Department sued Galveston County, Texas, on Thursday over a redistricting plan that it alleges discriminates against Black and Hispanic voters.

Justice Department lawyers accused officials in the GOP-dominated southeastern Texas county of deliberately making “drastic changes” to district lines to eliminate the sole district in which the county’s Black and Hispanic voters had an equal opportunity to elect preferred candidates.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for Southern Texas, alleges that the redistricting plan approved in November for the county’s governing body, known as the Commissioners Court, was “adopted, in part, for a discriminatory purpose.” It says the plan violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act’s provisions against discriminatory voting practices or procedures.

“The 2021 commissioners court redistricting plan will result in denying or abridging the right of Black and Hispanic voters in Galveston County to participate equally in the political process,” the Justice Department said in its lawsuit, which as first reported by CNN.

Galveston County Communications Director Zach Davidson declined to comment on the allegations, citing pending litigation.

The lawsuit goes on to say the redistricting effort has “both the result and intent of diluting the voting strength of the County’s minority voters.”

Census data from 2020 show that the voting-age population of the county, which is on the Gulf Coast, is about 58 percent white, 22.5 percent Hispanic and 12.5 percent Black.

The Justice Department is asking the court to block Galveston County from using the challenged plan to conduct elections. It also calls on the court to order the county to devise and put in place a new redistricting plan.

The lawsuit marks the third time during the Biden administration that the Justice Department has sued in Texas over voting practices. Federal prosecutors also sued Georgia, its secretary of state and its State Elections Board in June over voting procedures.

Dec. 7, 202102:05

“This action is the latest demonstration of the Justice Department’s commitment to protecting the voting rights of all Americans, particularly during the current redistricting cycle,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said in a statement. “We will continue to use all available tools to challenge voting discrimination in our country.”

The legal battle over the redistricting map is the latest in the first redistricting cycle since the Supreme Court in 2013 effectively invalidated a major part of the Voting Rights Act. The provision laid out a formula for which states needed clearance from the Justice Department or a federal court in Washington before they could change voting procedures or redraw electoral districts.

The complaint against Galveston County alleges that the adopted redistricting map moved a voting precinct that had the highest Black voting-age population in the county out of the majority-minority district where it had been for 20 years, splitting it between two other commissioners court precincts.

The Commissioners Court, which consists of a county judge, who serves as the presiding officer, and four commissioners elected from single-member districts, also deliberately excluded the only Black commissioner, Democrat Stephen Holmes, from being “meaningfully involved” in drawing the 2021 plan, the lawsuit says.

The county has a lengthy record of trying to eliminate electoral opportunities for its Black and Hispanic voters and adopting discriminatory redistricting plans, the lawsuit claims. The Justice Department twice rejected the county’s redistricting plans — in 1992 and 2012 — because of concerns about violating the Voting Rights Act.

Source: This post first appeared on NBC News

3.9k Share this
You May Also Like

Ukraine war: Belarus checking combat readiness of army equipment stores

Belarus has begun checking the ‘combat readiness’ of equipment in long term…
Mass shootings in America by the numbers

Mass shootings in America by the numbers

CHICAGO (CBS) — After at least 19 children and at least two…

Country Life had six architects jazz up Buckingham Palace, ROBERT HARDMAN inspects their designs

Over the coming days it will, once again, be the focal point…

Who won American Idol 2022? Leah Marlene of Normal, IL places 3rd, sings original song ‘Flowers’

NORMAL, Ill. (WLS) — ABC7 has followed Leah Marlene throughout this season…

Rape victim, 36, tortured by ‘Prince Charming’ ex ‘waited NINE months for Clare’s Law’s response’

A rape victim subjected to mental and physical torture by a ‘Prince…
Salvador Ramos, 18, from Uvalde, fatally shot 19 children and two adults in Tuesday's shooting. Ramos shared photos of guns to social media in the days leading up to the massacre

Uvalde school district was monitoring students’ social media pages for threats against staff or site

Texas school officials had been monitoring students’ social media prior to the…

Government tax take soars 12% year-on-year to £50bn in April

Struggling Britons were today warned they face another near-50 per cent hike…

West Ham’s Kurt Zouma bombarded with racist abuse and death threats after cat footage

EXCLUSIVE: West Ham’s Kurt Zouma was bombarded with racist abuse and death…