WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, March 30, a federal judge allowed a consolidated redistricting lawsuit against Galveston County, Texas, to move forward. The three sets of plaintiffs in the consolidated lawsuit — the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), voting rights organizations and individual voters — allege that the redistricting plan for the Galveston County Commissioners Court precincts, which was drawn with 2020 census data and eliminated the sole, longstanding majority-minority precinct, violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) by denying Black and Latino voters the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice. The voting rights organizations and the individual voters also assert that the county’s redistricting plan is intentionally discriminatory and racially gerrymandered in violation of the 14th and 15th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
Back in June 2022, the Galveston County defendants filed motions to dismiss the complaints brought by each set of plaintiffs. In three separate orders issued on March 30, a judge wholly denied the defendants’ motions to dismiss the DOJ’s and voting rights organizations’ complaints and largely denied the motion to dismiss the individual voters’ complaint. This voter victory means that all of the claims made by the DOJ and voting rights organizations will move forward, while most of the claims brought by the individual voters will proceed. A trial on the merits of the plaintiffs’ claims is scheduled for Aug. 7, 2023.