Mr. Lowry, your letter misrepresents The Citizen’s reporting of the plain facts and seems to contradict itself:
1. “The lawsuit brought by plaintiffs and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) was not about getting African Americans elected to office. It was about getting people elected to office, regardless of their race or ethnicity, who will represent the interests of the people who live in District 5.”
Then you seem to refute that by saying:
2. “The over 190 years of at-large voting, which deprived African Americans of the access to equal and fair representation in the political structure of Fayette County, are at last over.”
The lawsuit hinged on your argument that African American candidates could not get elected under the previous at-large voting districts. Your suit could not have even received a court hearing under the Voting Rights Act had not the basis been the alleged racial discrimination that your lawsuit itself said was prevalent.
In addition, your lawsuit asked the judge to forbid any incumbents from running for posts in the new districts. All incumbents were white. For some reason, the lawsuit’s stance has now changed. No black candidate is on the ballot for the District 5 school board race, only a white Democrat and a white Republican. A black candidate withdrew at the last minute. Any thoughts on that?
It seems that the very words of your lawsuit don’t match what you now claim your lawsuit victory accomplished.
If the lawsuit wasn’t racially motivated, why was it necessary to gerrymander and contort the voting districts to assure one majority-minority district? If the motive was to simply have district rather than at-large voting, why not rather divide the county into five geographically compact, equally populated districts?
Or was your true purpose, shucked down, to raise the odds of a Democrat getting elected, rather than a minority candidate, and you (mis)used a federal lawsuit alleging black voter suppression to achieve that political purpose?
Why else use a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination and then argue that it wasn’t about race? Because there is no federal judge in the U.S.A. who would have entertained a lawsuit that essentially said, “Our political party keeps getting beat. That’s unfair. Change the lines so that a Democrat can win.” The Voting Rights Act is about racial discrimination, NOT political party choices.
Mr. Lowry, your lawsuit is unambiguous about its basis: alleged racial discrimination employed by two local governments for the purpose of suppressing black voters. You are being disingenuous to try to spin it otherwise after the fact.
If any member of the local NAACP or other plaintiff wishes to be questioned about what the lawsuit says or what the redrawing of a district really means, I am available to pose questions to them. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please pass along my invitation to the other plaintiffs.
Last week I sent several such questions to a spokesperson seeking to have them answered by an NAACP official, but I have heard nothing since.
Cal Beverly, editor