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NAACP: Enforce district vote for July 31 primary

Federal judge asked to enforce original school board settlement and to require district voting for 3 posts

In the Atlanta federal courthouse this afternoon (May 30), a district court judge will convene an evidentiary hearing in the district voting lawsuit filed against the Fayette County Commission and the Fayette County Board of Education.

Hanging in the balance is a fundamental change to the way candidates are elected to both governing bodies. Currently both boards use at-large voting for all five seats on both governing bodies. That allows all voters, regardless of where they live in the county, to cast ballots on all five seats when the posts come up for election.

But the Fayette County and national branches of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People want to implement district voting, which would limit voters to only voting for one commission and Board of Education seat every four years: the one whose geographic district the voter resides in.

Despite the fact that qualifying has ended for the three BoE seats up for election this year, the NAACP is asking the court to approve the BoE settlement and enforce district voting for the July 31 board of education primary.

But county elections officials have testified that doing so would be onerous at this point prior to the election, as all Fayette County voters would have to be made aware of the change well in advance of the date by which absentee ballots are to be mailed out, some 45 days in advance of the election.

The NAACP contends that both boards should adopt district voting and create new geographic districts that would allow for one of the districts to have a majority number of minority voters so as to make it easier for a minority to be elected to both governing bodies.

The BoE had agreed in January to adopt district voting in a proposed settlement with the NAACP, but the settlement was overturned two months ago after the county objected to it.

The lawsuit filed by the NAACP names both the county commission and the Board of Education as defendants, and since the county had not agreed to that consent order, it was nullified by U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr.

The county is challenging the BoE’s ability to settle the suit since the school board does not have authority under state law to change its own district lines or method of voting. The county contends that under Georgia law that responsibility lies solely with the Georgia Legislature.

The settlement proposed by the NAACP and BoE would create one district that would have black residents making up 48.68 percent of the population and 46.2 percent of the voting age population.

It also would create a special election in November to fill the District 5 seat currently held by Leonard Presberg, who was appointed late last year to the vacancy left by the death of board member Sam Tolbert.

The county is also challenging that portion of the proposed settlement, saying the BoE has no legal power to grant such a change to the legislation that controls BoE elections.

The BoE’s attempt to settle the lawsuit may be at least partly driven by the motivation of a barren budget, as the school system has gone into drastic cost-cutting mode in recent months, including discussions of potentially closing certain schools in an attempt to save funds.

The school system did not seek for its defense an outside law firm specializing in voting rights lawsuits such as the district voting lawsuit. Instead, the BoE decided to use its regular contracted attorney, Phil Hartley, to represent it in the case.

The county commission, meanwhile, hired an Atlanta law firm that specializes in district voting cases: Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP.



Mark my words it won’t be long before the Fayette School will be having the same scandal in it as the Atlanta schools, go ahead and change the name on the water tank to Fayette-dale!

Your not so subtle reference to people of color is noted. However, the AJC has found this type of scandalous behavior throughout our nation. In the quest for the almighty dollar, we have lost the attributes of integrity, honesty, respect for others, etc. These are not feel good attributes of 'liberals', but the solid attributes that our founding fathers wanted to adhere to rather than what they were escaping from (the elitism of royalty). Honesty, working hard, respecting others are not just the qualities found in 'conservatives'. . . and after reading some of the behaviors of local conservative and liberal 'leaders' in the last 30 years in the US . . I would say that American politicians in general fall short of the mark.

PTC Observer's picture

"I would say that American politicians in general fall short of the mark."

You seem to be saying that there are other politicians that don't.

Are you saying this?

PTC Observer's picture

a simple yes or no question, why you make it so complicated?


Who can't understand the English language beyond the fourth grade level and it's use of synonyms needs to quit!

I know it's perhaps picky of me to mention this, but since you are referencing proper understanding of the English language, I am compelled to point out that you have used the word "it's" incorrectly. In your post you said, "Anyone who can't understand the English language beyond the fourth grade level and it's use of synonyms needs to quit!"

You should have said "...its use of synonyms needs to quit!"
"It's", which you used, means "it is"; "its" is the correct pronoun you should have used to indicate the possessive form of it.

I only meant for this to be posted once, but my computer was having difficulties (or perhaps it was just me!) My sincere apologies for the duplication -- mea culpa!

Thank you.



David's mom was part of the government education system that is pumping out illiterate teenagers. What do you expect?

I am also a product of the government education system, having graduated from one of Fayette County's high schools. While I agree that some of the teenagers graduating from our nation's schools are illiterate, it is still possible for graduates from government schools to use grammar correctly. Did you go to private schools, or were you also "pumped out" of the government education system?


I am a product of the gubberment edumication system and had no choice in the matter. Of course, back then the drop out rate was near nil and no one was accused of "acting white" if they studied every night and tried to achieve good grades.

PTC Observer's picture

attacks will get you nowhere, if you don't want to answer the question, that's fine.

Diversion DM, that's all it is and you know it.

There are MANY out there that see right through you. ;-)

<strong>ANYONE</strong> who understands the meaning of the synonym 'in general' knows the answer to your question. You and Grizz are transparent. Mcg is right on target with his/ her correction. In this era of 'texting' we seem to be ignoring our grammar lessons ! An outstanding public education produced Americans who achieved greatness. At 72, I'm hardly the product of an inferior educational system, nor is a graduate of Fayetteville County High School. We need to return to the educational system that produced US graduates who were tops in the world of academic achievement.

PTC Observer's picture

you don't want to answer the question?

OK, I get it.

72? WOW! In general, I had better treat you better. ;-)

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