DOJ suing Galveston County over alleged discriminatory redistricting plan

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Texas's Galveston County for a redistricting plan that allegedly discriminates against Black and Hispanic voters.

The complaint, which asks that the county come up with a new plan, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas and alleges that Galveston has had discriminatory electoral opportunities for Black and Hispanic voters for three decades, according to a DOJ release.

The recent plan in question, which the DOJ said had a "discriminatory purpose" against Black and Hispanic voters, was adopted in November following the 2020 Census results. The department said the plan violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

Specifically, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division accused the county of "devising a redistricting plan that 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," the statement said.

The lawsuit is the third that has been filed by the Biden administration over voting-related issues in Texas amid GOP-led attempts to limit voter access, CNN reported. 

The most recent redistricting cycle is the first since the Supreme Court did away with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, a policy requiring states with a history of discrimination to receive approval from the Justice Department or a federal judge regarding voting maps, CNN added. 

Now, Section 2 is the only way to fight discrimination, the outlet noted. 

"We will continue to use all available tools to challenge voting discrimination in our country," Clarke added in the Thursday release. 

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