Wright v. Sumter County Board of Elections and Registration
Plaintiff Mathis Kearse Wright Jr. alleged two changes to the Sumter County Board of Education electoral violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act because they diluted black voting power in the Georgia County’s school board elections. The first change involved the creation of two at-large districts, which favored the election of white-preferred candidates over black-preferred candidates by diluting black voting strength. The second change concerns the boundaries of the county’s five single-member districts, which packed black voters into only two districts. The changes are expected to lead to a 5-2 majority of white-preferred candidates on the county board in a county that is 48% black in voting age population.
On July 28, 2016, the Eleventh Circuit reversed the District Court’s denial of Plaintiffs’ challenges to these discriminatory changes. The Eleventh Circuit held that the Plaintiffs should have their day in court to prove that these electoral changes unlawfully discriminate against minority voters.
On March 17, 2018, a U.S. District Court ruled that the Sumter County Board of Education under the Board of Elections and Registration is in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Read the order.