The ramifications of Texas’ voting restrictions codified in Senate Bill 1 have already made the process of mail-in ballots a mess in terms of the primary. Last year, Texas GOP representatives also proposed a redistricting map to reduce Black and Latino majority districts. Texas Democrats have challenged the changes up to the Texas Supreme Court, but it hasn’t deterred places like Galveston County from implementing their own restrictive maps.
The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Galveston County, alleging its redistricting map discriminates against Black and Hispanic voters. This would be the third time during the Biden administration that the Justice Department has sued in Texas over voting practices. In targeting Senate Bill 1, the DOJ claimed that rejecting mail ballots with paperwork errors or omissions that “are not material to establishing a voter’s eligibility to cast a ballot” violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke reiterated the DOJ’s commitment to fighting voting discrimination across the country. Census data from 2020 show that the county’s voting-age population, which is on the Gulf Coast, is about 58 percent white, 22.5 percent Hispanic, and 12.5 percent Black.
“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 lawsuit alleges the new redistricting map adopted on November 12, 2021, 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. Under the new map, it would be split between two precincts. DOJ also asks 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 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,”