Judge may draw his own Fayette voting district map
A federal judge has selected the state’s reapportionment office and staff to serve as the court’s technical advisor as he mulls over several proposed new district maps to be used in future elections for members of the Fayette County Commission and the county Board of Education.
The maps are necessary to create five voting districts in the county, with one specifically containing a majority of minority voters as required by the ruling from U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr. His ruling in May determined that the county’s at-large voting system was discriminatory toward black voters in large part because it keeps them from electing a black candidate to either governing body.
The ruling is part of a lawsuit brought by the Fayette County and national branches of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which contended that the at-large voting was discriminatory.
Following its legal victory, the NAACP and several individual plaintiffs in the suit asked Judge Batten to approve a district voting map that creates a majority-minority “fifth” district that has no incumbent in office for that district.
Attorneys representing the Fayette County Commission have challenged that proposal and have submitted a different map for consideration by the judge.
In his order appointing the state reapportionment office as an expert in the case, Batten notes that he will use the assistance to determine whether to adopt either of the proposed district maps or instead to adopt a different map of his choosing.
Under the county’s longstanding at-large voting practice, every voter could cast a ballot for all five seats on both the county commission and the board of education. Under a district voting system, voters will be limited to just one of the five seats on both governing bodies: the one which corresponds with the geographical district the voters lives in.