Widely considered the crown jewel of American democracy, the Voting Rights Act is the most effective tool for protecting minority voters against voting methods that weaken minority voting strength. As a remedy, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act provides for the creation of single-member districts to replace an at-large method of election.
Just days after the 46th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and Georgia attorney Wayne Kendall filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Fayette County, Georgia’s at-large method of electing members to the County Board of Commissioners and Board of Education violates the Act.
The case was filed on behalf of the Georgia State Conference NAACP, Fayette County NAACP, and Black voters of Fayette County.
Although Black residents comprise twenty percent of Fayette County, are geographically concentrated in the northeastern part of the County, and consistently vote together for Board of Commissioners and Board of Education candidates, no Black candidate has ever been elected to either of these boards.
Plaintiffs seek to create five equally-populated election districts in Fayette County, each of which would elect one candidate to each board. By replacing at-large voting with district voting, Black residents would constitute the majority of the voting age population in one district, and would finally be able to elect candidates of their choosing to each board.