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  • Writer's pictureSarah Xiyi Chen

Update in Our Lawsuit Against Galveston County for racist redistricting

In April 2022, we filed a lawsuit against Galveston County over its 2021 County Commissioners Court redistricting maps. The new maps intentionally discriminate against a growing minority population and split up the only majority-minority district, where Stephen Holmes has served on the Galveston County Commissioners Court for 22 years as the sole Black commissioner.

The Commissioners Court intentionally held most of its 2021 redistricting process behind closed doors, making it nearly impossible to take public input into account, and adopted a map that cracks apart Black and Latino communities. Now, despite the County being made up of 45% of non-white residents, those minority residents will not have the ability to elect the candidate of their choice for any Commissioner Court seat.

The intentional racial discrimination demonstrated in Galveston County—and across our state—is appalling. Our local level officials make decisions that affect everyday lives, and the current maps guarantee that Galveston's Black and Latino populations will have their votes and voices diluted and ultimately not be represented by their commissioners.

The egregious actions by the Galveston Commissioners Court highlight the extent to which people in power will violate the law in order to stay in power. We saw similar cracking of minority populations with the Texas legislature’s maps, and we’re seeing it across the country.

On Friday, March 31, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas denied Galveston County's motion to dismiss the case, and ruled that our lawsuit against the County can proceed on our claims of vote dilution and racially discriminatory redistricting maps. The case is set to go to trial on August 7, 2023.

We look forward to continuing our case on behalf of local NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) branches as well as individual Galveston County civil rights leaders.

Our clients have extremely strong Voting Rights Act and constitutional claims, and the court's ruling ensures they will have their day in court. The blatant racial gerrymandering by the Galveston County Commissioner’s Court is illegal, and we look forward to continuing our case before the court that the county’s maps must be redrawn.

Galveston’s Black and Latino populations have a right to a precinct where they can elect their preferred candidate to represent them on the County Commissioner’s Court. We are fighting to ensure that their voices are heard and Galveston County’s maps provide them fair representation.

You can read the court’s decision on the Motion to Dismiss here, and view TCRP’s filing here.


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