A civil rights committee and two law firms filed a lawsuit Monday seeking voting rights for Black residents in North Carolina, reports USA Today.
From USA Today:
In a bid to create a better chance for black residents of rural areas to get elected to local office, a team of civil rights and private lawyers has filed what one prominent civil rights organization calls the first major voting rights lawsuit of the year.
Attorneys from the Washington-based Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and two private law firms filed the suit…The suit alleges that the black residents who account for about a third of the population in Jones County, N.C., are prevented from electing candidates who represent their needs because the county elects commissioners at large rather than by district. The complaint alleges the at-large system prevents black residents from electing black candidates from their communities, and says the at-large system dilutes black voting power.
A black person has not served on the Jones County Board of Commissioners since 1998, and the white commissioners have repeatedly made decisions that benefit white residents and hurt black residents, plaintiff Lindora Toudle told USA TODAY. Toudle complains the board has hired trash collection and water department contractors who have displaced black residents from longtime positions…The recent confirmation of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has raised the concerns of the civil rights community, who cite the Sessions’ description of the Voting Rights Act an “intrusive” piece of legislation.
The lawsuit — coming after the controversial Senate confirmation of Jeff Sessions last week — also arrives “at a time when many in the civil rights community are worried about protecting voting rights,” reports News & Observer.