NAACP seeks special Fayette elections later this year

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is pressing a federal judge to order a special election later in Fayette County this year under a court-ordered district voting format.

If the judge agrees, at least one board member on both the Fayette County Commission and the Fayette County Board of Education would be in essence removed from office to face an election campaign, likely to fill the remainder of the seat’s given term.

“Having now received this court’s judgment that at-large voting in Fayette County is an illegal voting system ... plaintiffs and prospective voters should have the opportunity to participate in a special election for District 5 in November 2013,” the NAACP filing says.

The NAACP wants new elections for the board seats associated with the majority-minority fifth district that it has created on maps proposed to the court.

Meanwhile, attorneys representing the county commission have filed for an immediate appeal of U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten’s May 21 decree ordering district voting to replace at-large voting for the selection of members to both governing bodies.

Batten’s approval is necessary for an “in progress” appeal of his decision, which came in the summary judgment phase prior to a trial in which both sides could call witnesses, present other evidence and articulate their legal arguments in full.

Arguing for an immediate appeal, the county contends that the court failed to analyze whether a proposed district map that triggered the court’s ruling was “racially gerrymandered.”

The map in question was drawn by a demographer representing the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, to create a voting district that is “majority minority” meaning that it has more than 50 percent of its residents being black and of voting age.

The NAACP is challenging the county’s motion for an immediate appeal, contending in part that such an appeal would be lengthy and endanger the application of court-ordered district voting in next year’s countywide elections.

The county’s current at-large election format allows voters to cast ballots for all five seats on both the county commission and the county board of education. The NAACP has argued that such a practice is tantamount to racial discrimination, and has successfully urged Judge Batten to order a switch to district voting to elect members of both governing bodies.

The county, in its motion for the immediate appeal, argues that there is little chance of the process drawing out too long. The county also notes that changing to a district voting format from the current at-large system will require a considerable expense.

Fayette County’s African American population was at 20.1 percent in the 2010 U.S. Census and the NAACP argues such numbers give black voters the right to have a majority-minority district specially drawn so black residents “can select the candidate of their choosing.” The NAACP has pointed out that no black resident has been elected to either the county commission or the board of education.

Under the district voting plan sought by the NAACP, Fayette voters would only be able to vote for one representative on each board, as district voting limits voters to casting ballots only for candidates who live in their particular geographic district.

District voting will also take away the current right of voters under the current at-large system to petition for recall of four of the five posts on each board. Georgia law requires that recall petitions, and their signatures, be signed only by persons who live in that particular district.

The county contends its decision to seek immediate review of the judge’s decision is in part an attempt to resolve the matter with the least expense to county voters.

The NAACP argues that such an appeal would only prolong resolution in the lawsuit and furthermore that there are several other matters to be decided beyond adopting new district maps including whether the judge would order a special election to be held.

At the same time, NAACP attorneys also argue there is time for an appeal to the 11th Circuit following full resolution of the case and “before the beginning of the next election cycle” while a final decision is necessary to mitigate the harm being done to black voters here.

“The time is now for Fayette County, following a nearly two century-old practice of maintaining a racially segregated county government, to implement a non-discriminatory electoral method that provides all Fayette County citizens the opportunity to elect their candidates of choice,” according to the NAACP brief.

The NAACP also claims that the commission “is seeking to perpetuate the county’s nearly 200-year tradition of maintaining a racially segregated county government,” a charge the county’s attorneys describe as “out of bounds.”

“While the Court found that the at-large system violates Section 2, the Court also made specific findings that rebut plaintiffs’ continuous accusations of racism,” according to a brief filed by county attorneys.

“For example, this court specifically found that the county’s motives in maintaining the at-large system were ‘not tenuous’ and that plaintiffs did not proffer any evidence “relating specifically to discrimination in Fayette County. ... To accuse county defendants of attempting to perpetuate a ‘racially segregated county government’ is unwarranted invective.”

123mom
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Just wondering

I've lived in the Atlanta area all my life and am still struggling to understand. How can we expect people to be treated equally if their physical differences are constantly pointed out? I am white, but I have voted for other ethnicities. One of my favorite teachers in high school (who happened to be black) taught his students that our duty as citizens of the United States was to be an informed voter. He simply reinforced what my parents taught me. I always assumed that meant we should look closely at what the person running for office stood for and what they promised to do for the good of our community - be it a neighborhood or a country. Can an elected person not fairly represent those in their district who are of other ethnicities or religions or sexes? I, and probably others who passed through Mr. Hood's classroom, am wondering why some (black, white, Hispanic, etc.) think that can't happen. We are striving to teach our children and grandchildren that a person should be judged (elected) by the content of their character, yet we are constantly reminded that we should also look at ethnicity. Just wondering when it will finally end.

tikigod
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Ugh

I never had much of an opinion of the NAACP, but after all this, I sure do. A group, stuck in the past, resorting to racism to get their way. Or really, racism is their way. How one can only feel represented by their own race is beyond me.

Get with the times NAACP. RACE DON'T MEAN A THING.

Joe Kawfi
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The hypocrisy and racism of the NAACP
Quote:

“The time is now for Fayette County, following a nearly two century-old practice of maintaining a racially segregated county government, to implement a non-discriminatory electoral method that provides all Fayette County citizens the opportunity to elect their candidates of choice.

While attempting to create a segregated 'majority minority' 5th district, the racist hypocrits of the NAACP have the unmitigated gall to call citizens of Fayette county racists.

Meanwhile, the villiage idiot asks why Republicans don't run a black candidate. Black people are afraid to join the Republican party out of fear of being ostricized from their community and being called an "Uncle Thomas".

The NAACP is a cancer on society, full of vile, hate-filled racists attempting to drive a wedge between Americans.

Robert W. Morgan
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Fine, fine, fine, mighty fine. Give 'em their special election

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't it a fact that turnout among blacks is dismally low in special elections, runoffs and off-year Congressionals? So stop paying attorneys and let them have their special election this November. Then reelect Barlow or McCarty or whoever it is in that district and move on. And then if you want to have some real fun at the NAACP's expense - go and find some black people who voted for the white guy and interview them.

This racist stuff has no place in Fayette County.

Husband and Fat...
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Sacrifice

How about we sacrifice Barlow and Baccallao. Whoever takes their place will at least be a step up in intelligence.

Robert W. Morgan
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Agreed, as long as we can still annoy the NAACP

They need to be slapped down somehow after all their racist garbage and the trouble and expense they have caused. I see no better way to do that than elect a white person from that district for county commission. I would actually prefer a black person on school board for that district, but I am all about anybody other than Mary Kay.

AtHomeGym
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RWM & the annoyance factor

Somehow I get the feeling that even if we let them pick a candidate and seat that person in one ofc or the other, they still wouldn't be satisfied. With them, it seems to be "push, push,and then push some more". One day, their house of cards will come tumbling down and those they pretend to support will pay some price for that special-interest attitude.

Robert W. Morgan
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Satisfying the NAACP? Ha! Fat chance.

Yes Gym, you are correct that the NAACP can never be satisfied, but we have to call them out and expose them for what they are - a terrible racist terrorist organization that is out to suppress or eliminate whitey and promote all things black and only black. Never to be satisfied they will cost us an endless amount of money trying to prove some 150 or 100 year old point about slavery or Jim Crow and in doing so will create racial hatred and keep alive prejudice and bigotry - all so that their leaders (and lawyers) can collect some big pay checks.

In Fayette County with the current situation we have 2 choices - 1. Fight them in the courts as Steve Brown and his gang have decided to do - and lose as is almost certain or 2. Let them win and get their "district" to go out and vote like responsible mature adults for the best candidate to represent them based upon the content of his or her's character as opposed to the color of their skin. Then if it works out one way or the other, maybe the NAACP will shut the ***** up and go away and terrorize somewhere else. Or maybe their supporters and contributors will.

Why can't we all just get along?

G35 Dude
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RWM-Going out of business
Quote:

Then if it works out one way or the other, maybe the NAACP will shut the ***** up and go away and terrorize somewhere else. Or maybe their supporters and contributors will.

Groups like the NAACP will never shut up and go away because once they do they cease to exist. They have to "create" a need for their service or go out of business.

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