Plaintiffs in a Texas redistricting battle who were initially awarded attorney’s fees by a district court were rebuffed in a ruling by the U.S. Fifth District Court of Appeals after being unable to prove they were the “prevailing party”. A dispute between seven elected officials and one citizen of Galveston, Texas, against Galveston County began when the county redrew district lines following 2010 census. The plaintiffs filed suit on grounds that the proposed electoral maps violated the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which requires certain jurisdictions with histories of voting discrimination to receive federal approval before changing voting procedures.
When Galveston County altered election maps according to 2010 population changes and applied “the ‘one person, one vote’ constitutional requirement,” affecting three county elections for commissioner, constable, and justice of the peace, the defendant filed the necessary documentation to the U.S. Department of Justice for pre-clearance.
In November 2011, a month after documents were filed, the plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment and injunctions against the redistricting plan. The district court granted a temporary restraining order and requested an evidentiary hearing. Upon review, the court vacated the restraining order as the county indicated they would not be implementing the changes until approved.