Texas newspaper slams GOP for locking Democrats out of power with new redistricting scheme

Republicans in Texas were slammed in a hard-hitting editorial by the Houston Chronicle for redrawing political maps in a manner likely to keep Democrats from having any representation in Galveston County.

The new maps for Galveston, which is a suburb of Houston, redrew Precinct 3. The district has been served by Commissioner Stephen Holmes for over two decades.

"Holmes is the lone Democrat and only person of color on the court. Precinct 3 is currently about two-thirds Black and Latino, but under the new configuration, people of color will make up only a quarter of the voters," the newspaper reported.

This was not the county's first brush with scandal while redistricting.

READ: Congressional gerrymandering by Texas Republicans cut out the heart of Houston’s Asian community

"Galveston County has been through this before. A decade ago, the U.S. Department of Justice rejected its Republican-drawn maps before they were put into effect, finding they diluted minority voting power," the newspaper reported. "What’s different this time, though, is the county is not required to submit its maps ahead of time for the DOJ to review any impact on minority voting rights."

The critical section of the law was struck down in 2013.

"Why did the Galveston County commissioners redraw Holmes’ district? Was it to dilute minority voting power? Or were they just determined to drive out dissent by a Democrat? We can only guess, because the commissioners didn’t respond to our requests for comment," the editorial board wrote.

READ: Texas Senate approves congressional map that draws no new Black or Hispanic districts even as people of color fueled population growth