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Fayette Commission to appeal district voting

The Fayette County Commission will be filing its formal appeal of a federal judge's decision in May 2013 to toss out at-large voting in favor of district voting, The Citizen learned Wednesday afternoon.

The switch to district voting, which is in effect for the current 2014 election season, means that residents can only vote for the commission and Board of Education post associated with the district in which they live. Previously voters could cast a ballot on all five posts for both governing bodies.

The district voting ruling from U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten concluded a lawsuit filed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which argued that black residents were unable to elect "the candidate of their choice" in previous county elections. The lawsuit argued that Fayette's at-large voting format prevented any black candidate from winning election to the county commission or the board of education.

Batten instituted a district voting map that includes a specially-carved 5th District, drawn to include a voting age population consisting of more than 50 percent black voters.

While the district voting map wasn't finalized until several weeks ago, Batten in May of last year issued an order declaring district voting the law of the land in Fayette County. However, no black candidate is on the ballot for the Post 5 Board of Education seat, as Democrat Leonard Presberg, the appointed incumbent, will face Republican challenger Dean Dutton in the November general election.

The Post 5 commission race did draw a black candidate, as Democratic challenger Pota Coston seeks to win the seat from incumbent commissioner Allen McCarty, who is a Republican. That race will also be settled in November's general election.



Cyclist's picture

with this. I would be very surprised that an appeal would be successful.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

While I don't like the ruling one bit, I would certainly like our elected to provide hard facts and some sort of odds to win before we spend more money. How many times does one have to lose before they stop? If they had to spend their own money, would they still do this? Shoot one commish doesnt care about other peoples money, or he would be paying back his creditors from TWO chapter 7 debts.

mudcat's picture

He has given his opponent the voters that favor district voting in the very district formed from district voting. She already has the female vote and the black vote. It is over.

Brown may have gained back the old time southern redneck racist voters, of which there are approximately 3 in his all Peachtree City district.

So, let's say the election goes forward before the appeal is ruled upon under the district voting format and the county wins the appeal (very unlikely) - do we have a do-over election with an at-large format? Or do we just wait until the next election? Assuming we wait, what good does that do and why are we spending money on this? Who benefits and how? I just don't see it,

PTC Observer's picture

Appeal is won, assuming it doesn't go to next level of appeal, white republicans

Appeal is lost, assuming it doesn't go to the next level of appeal, black democrats

Losers, taxpayers.

If we have district voting is should be based on population proportioned to represent, as nearly as possible, equal numbers of citizens in each district. If we do this then we are following the intent of representative government. District voting shouldn't be a political party thing or a racial thing. In essence that is what we have with at large voting for all commissioners, but district voting makes each commissioner more accountable to his/her district. This is assuming objective unbiased district creation based on population.

Only one problem in this, it's called the Voting Rights Act, which is racially biased law. Under this law, appeals are unlikely to be won.

And that's the truth!

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