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Feds Reject Fayetteville Redistricting Plan

Posted June 25, 2007

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— The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday rejected a plan to change the way City Council members are elected.

Local residents voted in February to eliminate three single-member districts from the council and replace them with three at-large districts.

Four of the existing nine City Council districts have majority minority populations, and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has to approve any change to council districts under the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim informed Fayetteville's attorney Monday that the city didn't meet its burdern of proof that the proposed at-large district wouldn't negatively impact minority voting strength in the city.

"Under the proposed plan, African-American voters would have substantially less than certain prospects of electing candidates of their choice to four of the nine (council) positions," Kim wrote.

Critics of the new structure have said a shift to six single-member districts and three at-large districts would hurt minority representation. But supporters, including Mayor Tony Chavonne, said that a City Council structure of six single-member districts and three at-large districts would encourage the council to take a big-view picture of Fayetteville.

Because the at-large districts weren't approved, Fayetteville's municipal elections this fall will be held under the existing single-member district format.

19 Comments

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  • djofraleigh Jun 27, 2007

    "I guess a majority voted really doesn't matter in this country."

    Well, you hit the nail on the head. The ruling defeats the majority from completely ruling the minority.

  • djofraleigh Jun 27, 2007

    This decision, wise or not, leaves the city DIVIDED.

  • mulvay8888 Jun 26, 2007

    As far as taking it up with the DOJ, if someone didn't complain, it never would have made it that far. The will of the people who voted for this change has been struck down. I think this reversal is a slap in the face for all those who voted. I guess a majority voted really doesn't matter in this country.

  • mulvay8888 Jun 26, 2007

    So what you are saying is that it is based on race and because an area is being mapped differently the black population will suffer. That is the point I am trying to make. I will vote for whom ever is the most qualified like you have stated in previous posts. Black, white, purple, yellow, it is all indifferent to me. I get upset when race is always pulled in as an issue. Let me ask you this, under both maps 3 at large or the original, if all white candidates are elected, to the City of Fayetteville, people will complain and say that they are not being treated fairly. This 3 at large was voted on by the population of Fayetteville as a whole, if those who were against 3 at large did not voted, well, who is at fault. The majority voted. Until we as individuals stop letting certain interest groups from any race or organization dictate what is that we want, we will never be able to more forward. This makes no sense. Fayetteville as a whole is more diverse than it was 10 years ago

  • kpcbutterfly Jun 26, 2007

    If it makes you feel better to believe that whites can't vote for blacks, then go ahead and do so. The 3 at-large was rejected by the Department of Justice--that's what's important here. Once again you miss the point. The point is not that we have a black person as a leader. The point is that we get to choose anybody period. With the At Large plan, it was taking away too much representation from areas that are majority ethnic. But I'm just a laymen, if you really want to be educated about converse with the DOJ.

  • mulvay8888 Jun 26, 2007

    kpcbutterfly - So, if blacks do vote for white and whites vote for blacks, what was the problem of the new redistricting plan and why was it overturned, oh wait..... blacks vote for white so that must mean whites do not vote for blacks. I get it now, but wait, didn't former Fayetteville Mayor Pitts get elected as a black mayor under this same 3 at large years ago?????

  • kpcbutterfly Jun 26, 2007

    Yes, I'm serious. I'm just as serious as the DOJ was when they told the Fayetteville attorney that the plan was unjust. You can keep saying that we want to vote only blacks all you want, but that is not true. Do you honestly think that blacks don't vote for whites also? Please....

  • cjump Jun 26, 2007

    If a person running for office has a good program, the people, regardless of race, will vote for them.

    Attempts to make sure there are minorities in any elected body are as illegal as purposely leaving them off.

  • mulvay8888 Jun 26, 2007

    "Under the proposed plan, African-American voters would have substantially less than certain prospects of electing candidates of their choice to four of the nine (council) positions," Kim wrote.

  • mulvay8888 Jun 26, 2007

    kpcbutterfly - Are you really that serious???? You said "do you really think that minorities have no more intelligence than to just vote for a person based on their race alone? We do have sense enough to do our homework and vote based on the best qualified candidate regardless of their race. Equal and fair representation is what this country was built on and what every community deserves."

    Well.....The new voting districts have been overturned because of race as major issue. If minorities were not concerned about voting based on race, then why the new redistricting plan (VOTED ON BY THE PEOPLE), being overturned.

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