Mar 25, 2022 - Politics & Policy

DOJ sues Texas county alleging discriminatory redistricting plan

Photo of a red sign that says "Vote aqui here" next to a building
People vote at the Carver Branch Library on March 1, 2022 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Montinique Monroe via Getty Images

The Justice Department said Thursday that it has filed a lawsuit against a Texas county, alleging its redistricting map discriminates against Black and Hispanic voters.

Why it matters: The lawsuit is part of the DOJ's efforts to strike down redistricting maps that dilute voting power among people of color. It's the Biden administration's third legal challenge against voting procedures adopted by Texas Republicans since November.

Details: The DOJ's complaint alleges that Galveston County has violated the Voting Rights Act because its redistricting plan "dismantles the only district in which Black and Hispanic voters had the opportunity to elect a candidate of choice to the county’s governing body," Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said in a statement.

  • The electoral map, which was adopted on Nov. 12, 2021, eliminates the only precinct that previously comprised a majority of Black and Hispanic residents, according to the DOJ's complaint.
  • "[I]t has the discriminatory result of denying Black and Hispanic citizens an equal opportunity to participate in the political process," the DOJ said in a release.
  • The complaint also accuses the heavily Republican county of seeking to diminish or eliminate electoral opportunities for Black and Hispanic voters over the past three decades.
  • The DOJ is asking the court to bar the county from conducting elections under the plan and order a new redistricting map that complies with the Voting Rights Act.

The big picture: Several other states are already in the middle of legal disputes in regard to redistricting plans. Some have reached the Supreme Court.

  • Seven of the 12 new congressional district maps graded by the Princeton Gerrymandering Project and RepresentUs received "F"s in February, including four passed by Democrats.
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