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Proposed voting changes draw attention of Texas civil rights group

City of Bryan
Monday, July 7, 2014 - 3:11pm

A proposed charter amendment in the city of Bryan has drawn the attention of a civil rights group.

If approved the proposed charter amendment would change who could vote for candidates in elections. The Texas Civil Rights project has informed the city that if the change is approved, it will take legal action.

Texas Civil Right project director Jim Harrington says “ This is a classic form of discrimination that was used in the past if they go through with what the mayor wants to do we will file a lawsuit there is no doubt about it because it regression in terms of minority representation.”

Currently the city is divided into five districts represented by one council member who must live in their respective district. And the voter can only vote for a candidate in their district. The changes would allow all registered to voters to vote for all council positions.
 

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Dear Mayor and Members of the Council:

It appears there is an unabashed effort afoot to move away from the current single-member council districts and re-install one of the discriminatory election schemes from the past that is designed to assure majority control of the entire city council, to the electoral detriment of the city’s minority communities.

I truly hope the Council does not move forward with this ill-conceived plan. However, if it does, I can assure you that our office, along with the group of voting rights attorneys we have assembled to be on the watch for such efforts, will be ready to pursue litigation to prevent this de facto attempt to undo the progress made for Bryan through the Voting Rights Act.

Embarking on such a regressive political effort would cause ill will among the citizens; and the resulting litigation, problematic for the city, would be an unnecessary and undue burden on the taxpayers of the city.

Thank you for your attention to these comments.
 

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