“How Columbus’s Majority-Black City Council Might be Violating the Voting Rights Act”

Brentin Mock for CityLab:

But how can this method be racially discriminatory in a city like Columbus where, despite having a black population that is roughly 30 percent, the city council is majority black? Everyday People for Positive Change argues that it’s because those city council members were all initially appointed to their seats, not elected. The way this has worked, Beard explains, is a council member will resign before his or her term ends, and then the council fills the vacant seat until the next election. This has been how every black city council member has originally obtained their seat for decades, with just one exception, Jennette Bradley, an African-American candidate who obtained her seat originally via election, in 1991, as a Republican.


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