Oral arguments in district voting case set for Dec. 10

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on Dec. 10 in the appeal by the county and board of education of the decision by U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten which established district voting as the law for Fayette County.

The newly drawn districts are being used for the upcoming general election. A board of education and a board of commissioners seat are up for the newly established majority-minority 5th District, which is on the northern end of the county.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples (NAACP) brought the suit over district voting, saying that the previous at-large system prevented black candidates from being elected in Fayette County.

Judge Batten sided with the NAACP in February, establishing district voting for the county. Both the Fayette County Board of Commissioners and the Fayette County Board of Education voted to appeal the decision.

The result of that appeal could have significant ramifications for the general election in November. If district voting is overturned, the local races will have to be re-run in a special election.

Anne Lewis, one of the attorneys representing the county in the appeal, said the appeals court might reverse the decision of the district court or send it back to district court for a trial.

“If a decision were returned with a judgment in favor of the county, there would need to be a special election,” Lewis said.

Lewis explained that the case has not yet seen a trial up to this point.

Oral arguments are scheduled for Dec. 10 in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Lewis said she could not anticipate when a decision might be reached.

“We submit our arguments to the appeals court for a decision,” Lewis said, “and then we wait.”

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