AUSTIN, Texas — A lawsuit brought on by 12 Austin voters will be heard at the Texas Supreme Court, who will ultimately decide whether all councilmembers must face reelection this year.
According to KVUE's news partners at the Austin American-Statesman, on Tuesday afternoon, Texas District Judge Lora Livingston of the 261st Civil District Court granted the City’s motion for summary judgment. Attorney Bill Aleshire, who represents the 12 voters, had previously argued that roughly 24,000 voters are facing the same issue after the City redrew its districts, the first time it’s happened since the council transitioned into a 10-1 system.
"We've had a government agency tell voters who their councilmembers are without them having had an opportunity to vote for them," Aleshire said.
Because of the redrawn boundaries for city council seats, Aleshire said a significant number of voters could no longer cast a ballot for the city council member that once represented them.
If the City had lost the legal battle in district court, it would have likely meant all councilmembers would be placed on the ballot and Councilmembers Vanessa Fuentes, Chito Vela, Mackenzie Kelly, Leslie Pool and Alison Alter would face voters again before the end of their terms.
Aleshire had previously suggested placing all councilmembers on the ballot followed by a draw to see who would serve a two- versus four-year term.
"I will file a motion to rehearing tomorrow since plaintiffs did not challenge the constitutionality of staggered terms, only the right to vote of redistricted voters reassigned to districts in mid-term," he told KVUE on Tuesday. "We will argue that the judge should have denied the City’s MSJ as well and proceeded to take the case to trial on the merits rather than grant the City’s motion based on a pleading plaintiffs did not make."
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