The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta in August, makes its claims on behalf of several individuals, as well as the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP and the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials. It proposes re-drawing Gwinnett’s districts to create create two minority commission districts and add a second minority school board district.
Gwinnett is a majority-minority county, meaning non-white residents outnumber white ones. But neither the Board of Commissioners nor the school board have ever had a non-white member.
That fact has drawn extra scrutiny in recent months, as the aftermath of Gwinnett County Commissioner Tommy Hunter calling civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John Lewis a "racist pig" continues to unfold. In a move unrelated to the pending lawsuit, state Rep. Pedro Marin, D-Duluth, has also filed bills that would re-draw Gwinnett's commission and school board districts.
To be clear, Totenberg’s decision that a minority coalition may be used in the Gwinnett lawsuit is not a ruling on the merits of the case. Moving forward, the judge wrote, the plaintiffs must prove that their coalition has “political cohesiveness” — that Gwinnett’s black, Latino and Asian voters tend to vote the same way.
In her order, Totenberg pointed out that the plaintiffs “may face significant proof issues” in their attempts to show such a cohesiveness.
Gwinnett County has until May 26 to file a new response to the lawsuit. The county, which does not typically comment on pending litigation, declined to comment Monday.
In other news:
DeKalb now joins Fulton and Cobb counties in offering multiple early voting locations in the 6th District race.
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