Dallas County Sued for Violating the Voting Rights of White People
Five white plaintiffs, backed by the Dallas-based Equal Voting Rights Institute, are suing Dallas County because, they say, the 60 percent-white Dallas County Commissioner's Court does not fairly represent them.
Dallas County, for the record, is 39 percent Latino; 32 percent white, non-Latino; and 23 percent black, according the the U.S. Census Bureau. Everyone's a minority here.
"Like something out of the bad old days, a Southern electoral body plays naked racial politics, intentionally using its power to minimize a dissenting race's political sway. The body does so through its redistricting authority, cramming as much of that racial minority as possible into a single district and splitting the remainder up as an insignificant fraction of the electorate in the surrounding districts. It undertakes this move to intentionally deny the racial minority a chance to fairly participate in the electoral process, while claiming that the minority has no legal right to protection and arguing that higher law compels the racist act," the suit says.
Again, they're talking about white people. Specifically Republican white people.
The suit goes on to document the garden-variety gerrymandering done to commissioner's court districts in 2010 as a plot to disenfranchise Dallas' oppressed Anglo population. Before the redistricting, there were two Republicans on the commissioner's court, afterwards, there's been one, District 2's Mike Cantrell. Daniel Morenoff, the plaintiff's attorney in the case, says the suit is about upholding the spirit of the Voting Rights Act.
"The whole point of the Voting Rights Act was to kill Jim Crow and to prevent state and local governments from rigging elections so that only one race could decided who's going to win. You don't have to take my word for it that the goal was to get rid of the possibility of rigging elections to favor particular races of voters. You could talk to John Lewis, the hero of Selma, and he's a congressman from Atlanta. He was asked whether that's what the Voting Rights Act was about or whether the Voting Right Act was intended to just create racial entitlements for particular groups the usually sue under it and his answer was to say it's an affront to all the things the civil right movement stood for, what people bled for. 'Those of us who marched across that bridge 50 years ago, we didn't march for some racial entitlement. We marched to open up the political process and let all the people come in,'" Morenoff says.
Because white people are concentrated in District 2, Republicans do not have an adequate chance to win in other districts, Morenoff says. He and his clients are asking the feds to force Dallas County to redraw the commissioner's court districts. Should the commissioners refuse to do so, the plaintiff's ask that the feds do it for the court. The named plaintiffs in the case include two members of commissioner's court district one, and one from each of the three remaining districts.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Dallas, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.