Press Release: ACLU Victory: Federal Court Rules Sumter County’s Public Education School Board Districts Violate the Voting Rights Act
ATLANTA – A federal court in Albany agreed with the ACLU Voting Rights Project, the Law Office of Bryan L. Sells, and the ACLU of Georgia, that the Sumter County Board of Elections and Registration’s current school board district lines are unfair to African-Americans, who are 54% of the county’s population.
In its ruling, the court ordered Sumter County to draw fair district lines “to give African Americans a more proportional representation on the Board of Education than does the current plan.” The Court found that “based on the totality of the circumstances, that the at-large districts of the Sumter County Board of Education dilute African-American voting strength in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
Under the court’s order, the Sumter Board of Elections and Registration must confer with the county’s legislative delegation and inform the court “no later than Monday, March 26, 2018 whether the General Assembly is inclined to enact a remedial plan before adjourning sine die or, if not, a timeline for when it believes a remedial plan could be adopted. While the time period is short, the Parties have already put considerable effort into their proposed remedial plans, which will greatly assist the General Assembly in its efforts.”