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Court Filings & Opinions Democracy & Voting Rights

Harding vs. Dallas County

Posted → Aug 23rd, 2018

Anglo voters of Dallas Texas challenged the county’s 2011 redistricting plan in regards to electing county commissioners, claiming it is a violation of their rights.

Pattern

Anglo voters of Dallas Texas challenged the county’s 2011 redistricting plan in regards to electing county commissioners, claiming it is a violation of their rights.

 

Overview:

In Texas, Dallas County elects four of its County Commissioners in districts and one of the County Commissioners at-large. After the 2010 census, the County Commissioners” Court decided to redistrict their map because it was no longer representative of Dallas County’s population. Therefore, plaintiffs filed suit claiming that their rights under section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment were violated because the county only had one Anglo majority district. 

Plaintiffs had hoped to acquire a second county commissioner that was representative of their choice, which happened to be a Anglo Republican. Although this is what plaintiffs wanted, the district court concluded that plaintiffs were not able to prove that Anglo’s can elect the candidate of their choice if they were to redraw district lines to have a second commissioner district. Due to the Anglo citizen voting age population (CVAP), the court found that roughly 23% of Anglos vote Democrat. Anglos have one strong district but in trying to create two it takes away from an Anglo district who is already able to elect representatives of their choice. Therefore, altering the map to include one more majority-minority district did not necessarily mean that Anglos were automatically guaranteed to elect their preferred candidate. In the end, the court stated that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate their vote dilution claims and failed to plead a racial gerrymandering claim. 

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