Gwinnett renews effort to get minority voting rights suit dismissed

Gwinnett County, its school district and its elections board have filed new motions arguing for the dismissal of a minority voting rights lawsuit filed against them last fall.

The federal suit — filed in August on behalf of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, the Georgia NAACP and several individual plaintiffs — claims that the way Gwinnett’s Board of Commissioners and school board districts are drawn dilutes the ability of minority voters to elect candidates of their choice.

Gwinnett is a minority-majority county but has never had a non-white candidate elected to either board.

The lawsuit cleared a major hurdle earlier this month, when U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg ruled that the plaintiffs would be permitted to use a "coalition" of multiple minority groups to make their case for re-drawing Gwinnett's districts. Such a coalition, which combines the county's black, Latino and Asian voters, had been a large part of Gwinnett County's arguments against the suit.

Those arguments were only partly abandoned in the county’s latest motions to dismiss, which were filed Friday.

Both motions — one filed on behalf of the school district and the other on the joint behalf of the county and its elections board — claim that GALEO and the NAACP lack standing to file a suit because neither one represents the interests of all three minority groups. The motions also claim the plaintiffs have not properly identified which board districts they believe to be “diluted.”

It was not clear Thursday when the motions might be considered.

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