Second Circuit in Important Voting Rights Act Case Upholds East Ramapo Liability Under Section 2

This looks to be important:

Defendant-Appellant East Ramapo Central School District (“District”) appeals from the May 25, 2020 decision and order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Seibel, J.), issued after a bench trial, holding that the at-large election system used by the District to elect members to its Board of Education (“Board”) resulted in dilution of black and Latino residents’ votes in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 52 U.S.C. § 10301. On appeal, the District argues that: Section 2 requires a finding that racial motivations caused election results; the district court abused its discretion in admitting and relying on Plaintiffs’ expert’s findings, which used data derived through Bayesian Improved Surname Geocoding (“BISG”) rather than the more traditional Citizen Voting Age Population (“CVAP”) data; and the totality of the circumstances does not support a finding of impermissible vote dilution.

We reject these arguments. We hold that Section 2 does not require racial causation, though the existence or absence of such causation is a relevant factor for consideration. We further hold that the district court did not err in concluding that the analysis using BISG is reliable and superior to analysis using CVAP. Lastly, we hold that the totality of the circumstances supports the finding of a Section 2 violation given the near-perfect correlation between race and school-type; the scant evidence supporting the District’s claim that policy preferences, not race, caused election results; the Board’s blatant neglect of minority needs; the lack of minority-preferred success in elections; the exclusive, white-dominated slating organization; and evidence suggesting the District acted in bad faith throughout the litigation.

(Via How Appealing).

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