Socorro Assists Department of Justice Right to Review
POSTED: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 8:42pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 8:06pm
SOCORRO - The City of Socorro is assisting in the Department of Justice Right to Review
The City of Socorro is very much aware of the voting rights requirement in 42 USC 1973c and part 51 of the CFR. A. In December 2012 The City of Socorro changed election dates to November 2013 Uniform Election Date and November 2014 Uniform Election Date respectively. This was done to conform with Texas SB 100. Odessa, and South Parade, and also the Socorro ISD made the same changes in election dates.
The problem with timing of section 5 preclearance was occasioned by an annexation and charter changed completed by the city back in 2008, when we started to prepare the information regarding the current redistricting and election changes we discovered the city had not submitted any of the 2008 changes for preclearance, in order to compete the section 5 preclearance packages we had to generate information regarding that annexation and complete redistricting of the enlarged city. The justice department takes the position that in the event of an annexation the department will not approve any subsequent voting changes until the redistricting of the enlarged city is submitted for approval along with the enlargement. So these latest changes are still officially in the process. Of course the right to review is governed by the issue of whether the change has the purpose or the effect of discriminating against minority voters. In The City of Socorro's case the population of all areas involved is in excess of 90% Hispanic so there is no implication of dilution of Hispanic voting strength.
We have in the last week received the maps and other documents and demographic data (we believe we have the complete package) in order to enable us to complete the section five submission applications for the annexation, the charter change back in 2008 and therefore the other election changes and procedures since that time. The notification and review will be completed before the next election date.
Our City Attorney anticipates we will proceed with submission of all these procedures within the next 30 days or so. Unfortunately, our City Attorney will be out on vacation the later part of June, so this may interrupt this time line a bit.