August 22, 2013
Parents, Community Groups Challenge General Assembly’s Illegal Redistricting of Wake County School Board
Contact: Anita Earls, Anita@southerncoalition.org; 919-323-3380 x 115
WAKE COUNTY, NC – Today the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, on behalf of thirteen Wake County citizens and two community organizations, filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging Senate Bill 325 (now Session Law 2013-110), the North Carolina General Assembly’s unjustified redistricting of Wake County Board of Education districts. The new law has the effect of unconstitutionally devaluing the vote of some residents of the County in electing members to the School Board.
The named plaintiffs are Wake County voters who allege the North Carolina General Assembly violated the one-person, one-vote requirements of the United States and North Carolina Constitutions. Specifically, the diverse group of plaintiffs contend that the legislature over-populated their newly drawn Wake County School Board districts, thus weakening their vote in contrast to voters in adjacent districts.
Calla Wright is a named plaintiff and President of the Raleigh-based Concerned Citizens for African American Children. “My vote is no less important than any other Wake County voter,” Wright said. A voter’s influence is measured by the relative weight of their vote to others voting in the same election. Creating an overpopulated district simultaneously results in one or more under-populated adjacent districts. Voters in the overpopulated districts are harmed because their vote carries less strength than those in the under-populated districts. The new redistricting plan would likely result in the election of a board that would reject the County’s socioeconomic diversity student assignment plan—despite the fact that Wake County voters have decisively communicated that they want for their children to be exposed to other students from a broad range of backgrounds. “Our children are more important than partisan political victories,” said Wake County parent and plaintiff Amy Womble. “This redistricting plan was designed to change the makeup of the Wake County School Board to include members who would return to policies of re-segregation and undermining of public education,” concluded Womble.
“The federal courts have made clear that favoring rural voters over urban voters, or favoring one political party over another are not legitimate justifications for deviations from the one-person, one-vote principle. This plan is unbalanced and unfair to Wake County voters.” said Anita Earls, Executive Director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
View the press release here: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEAugust 22 FINAL.
View the filed complaint here: Wake County SB Complaint File Stamped