NewsGalveston County Election Maps Violate Voting Rights Act

Galveston County Election Maps Violate Voting Rights Act

According to the Texas Tribune, the Trump appointed judge ruled that the map “denies Black and Latino voters the equal opportunity to participate in the political process and the opportunity to elect a representative of their choice to the commissioners court.”
The trial, which began in August, established that Galveston County used its first opportunity to draw maps without government oversight to stop Black and Latine voters in the county’s Precinct 3 from exercising control over their political representation. The only Democrat on the county commissioner court, a Black man named Stephen Holmes, was elected directly from Precinct 3.

Galveston County Judge Mark Henry, a Republican, indicated that he would appeal the ruling, saying “The County followed redistricting law and did not engage in any racial discrimination,” Henry said. “We believe this will be vindicated by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. As County Judge, I have never lost a voting rights act case on appeal.”

BREAKING: We won our lawsuit against Galveston County!

Sarah Xiyi Chen, an attorney in the Texas Civil Rights Project’s voting rights program, issued a statement on Oct. 13 that read, “We are thrilled with today’s decision — now, Black and Latino Galveston residents will once again have a fair shot to influence the decisions that shape their community.”
Chen continued, “The residents of Galveston fought hard for this win, sharing their stories and pride from the historic Precinct 3 — we are glad they are finally able to get the relief they deserve. We hope the commissioners court takes this opportunity to draw a new map that ensures that the community will have their votes, voices and needs heard for the next decade.”

The Department of Justice found the maps so egregious that they made a move to fight the county maps a mere four months after they were initially adopted, later joined by the County’s local LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) chapter and three local branches of the NAACP.

Today’s ruling reaffirms that every citizen’s right to vote and representation should be protected and valued.
We, at @TXCivilRights, have always stood against policies and practices that silence the voices of underrepresented communities, including Black and Latino voters. https://t.co/q6tm4lAkq7

 

Leah Aden, a lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, told Reuters that the map’s changes “reflects that there was a racial target, it reflects that there was a significant sorting of Black people, it reflects unrebutted expert evidence of race rather than party explaining the assignment of voters.”

RELATED CONTENT: Florida Judge Says Florida Voting Map Violates State Constitution

Source: Black Enterprise

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