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Texas Supreme Court considering election suit arguments

Tuesday, June 14, 2022 by Jo Clifton

In what is likely to be the final phase of the election lawsuit that would put all City Council districts on the November ballot, the city has filed its response to the suit by 13 Austin voters who claim they have been disenfranchised by redistricting, and the plaintiffs have filed their response. The city is represented by Renea Hicks, who has served as outside counsel for the city for several years. The plaintiffs are represented by Bill Aleshire. In order for the plaintiffs win their suit, the Texas Supreme Court would have to invalidate the Austin City Charter provisions requiring staggered terms and order the city to vacate the seats of Council members in districts 2, 4, 6, 7 and 10 at the end of the year. The city is already scheduled to hold elections for mayor and Council districts 1, 3, 5, 8 and 9. Plaintiffs who were moved from one of the latter districts into one of the districts not holding an election this year claim they’ve been disenfranchised by the move. Making that even more egregious, according to Aleshire, is the fact that the city has already implemented redistricting. The court could make a decision this week, but could also take more time. A Travis County district judge and a court of appeals have already rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments.

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