City of Jasper, TX: CLC Warns Jasper, Texas that Proposed Annexations Could Lead to Violations of Voting Rights Act
On March 14, the Campaign Legal Center informed officials from the City of Jasper, Texas that the annexations of predominantly white subdivisions, currently under consideration by the City, appear to violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
The City of Jasper is considering the annexation of three predominantly white subdivisions which would dilute black voting strength in the City. Further one of the subdivisions under consideration for annexation would be added to the City’s District 4, where black voters have demonstrated an effective ability to elect candidates of their choice. In 1988, the City's similar attempt to annex predominantly white neighborhoods was rejected by the Department of Justice during a review while Jasper was still required under the Voting Rights Act to preclear any and all voting changes before administering them.
“The annexations under consideration will likely produce discriminatory results and thus would appear to dilute black voting strength in the city in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act,” said J. Gerald Hebert, Campaign Legal Center Executive Director. “We wanted to put the City on notice that the proposed annexations raise serious compliance issues under the Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court's misguided decision last year in the Shelby County case, nullifying a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, does not give state and local officials license to adopt discriminatory voting procedures.”
Included in the letter to the City was a copy of the 1988 Justice Department letter reminding the City that similar annexations had been rejected because they would have led to a violation of Voting Rights Act by diluting black voting strength in the City. A copy of the Legal Center's letter was also sent to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
To read the letter sent by the Campaign Legal Center, click here.