published Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

NAACP warns Chattanooga it could be in violation of the Voting Rights Act

by Cliff Hightower
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A local vice president of the NAACP told the Chattanooga City Council it could be in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by predetermining how many districts the city should have in which minorities make up the majority of residents.

"I continue to hear we are looking at three majority minority districts," Joe Rowe, first vice president of the Chattanooga NAACP, told council members. "But when I ask, 'Why not four?', I don't hear anything."

His comments came at the beginning and end of a redistricting meeting by the council's Legal and Legislative Committee.

Rowe said the council first needs to look at the number of voting blacks within the city and work from those numbers.

The council so far has been trying to preserve a traditional three districts in which minorities are the majority along with another swing district.

Blacks should make up about 65 percent of the population in the three districts, Rowe said. If council members work with those numbers, there may be "two majority minority districts, there may be four," he said.

Councilman Jack Benson said during the meeting that he was bewildered by the request and he did not know if would be possible to get a maximum number of majority minority districts.

"I don't know how you can get four," he said.

Rowe said the point is that the Voting Rights Act is followed.

Councilman Peter Murphy, chairman of the committee, said he would talk with the city attorney and come back with an opinion on what needs to be done.

After addressing the council, Rowe said three majority minority districts at 65 percent would be stronger than two at 70 percent and two at around 50 percent plus one.

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joetheplumber said...

Lets just make each city block a district and let the NAACP have them all. These people are going to piss and moan no matter what. 99% of the problems are cause by 30% of the population.

November 2, 2011 at 12:40 a.m.
CBIKAS said...

Thanks Mr. Rowe for taking some time to understand this issue. The Voting Rights Act is a integral part of our democracy. And I sleep better at night knowing you are involved with this process.

November 2, 2011 at 1:35 p.m.
specchem said...

Chattanooga has a minority population of 22.4%, 9 council districts, 65% minority in district for guaranteed control would only result in 3 districts possible. That is how the math works out whether it is politically correct or not.

November 2, 2011 at 4:45 p.m.
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