^
Keep Houston Press Free
4

Galveston Cuts Constable Districts in Half After Voting Rights Act Ruling

Well, that didn't take long. In a move that had previously been struck down by the federal government as unconstitutional and discriminatory, Galveston County moved this week to eliminate four of the eight county constable districts according to a report from the Houston Chronicle (requires subscription). Republicans own four of the five Commissioners Court seats and voted for the change. The lone vote against was the one Democrat, Stephen Holmes, who claimed he didn't even hear about the vote until it was posted on Friday.

A recent decision by the Supreme Court that legal experts say significantly weakens the Voting Rights Act appears to have emboldened Galveston County Commissioners to make the move, one that they attempted last year but that was blocked by a U.S. District Court.

The eight districts that had existed before Tuesday's vote were put in place after a discrimination lawsuit 20 years ago. The change now was hailed by supporters as providing greater efficiency and decreasing the cost to taxpayers. Opponents claimed that it was a return to an approach that had been ruled as discriminatory by the U.S. Courts.

It does appear as if Republican members of Commissioners Court were primed to pounce on the opportunity afforded them by the Supreme Court's recent decision to strip certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

But by cutting the number of districts, Galveston opens itself up to civil lawsuits and may prompt the federal government to place the county on pre-clearance, meaning it would have to get approval for any such changes in the future.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.