“We are extremely pleased with today’s court ruling, which affirms that the City of Euclid must abandon its illegal method of electing its city council,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This is an important victory for all the residents of Euclid, and particularly for its African-American citizens who have been denied their right to full and equal participation in the democratic process in city government. We look forward to working with the city to develop a method of election that provides African-American voters the opportunity the Voting Rights Act guarantees.”
On July 10, 2006, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act against the City of Euclid, Ohio. The lawsuit challenged the city’s mixed at-large/ward method of electing its city council on the basis that it unlawfully diluted the voting strength of African-American voters. Although African-Americans comprise nearly 30 percent of the city’s electorate, and there have been eight recent African-American candidates for the Euclid City Council, not a single African-American candidate has ever been elected to the nine-member city council or to any other city office.
After a two-week trial, Judge Kathleen McDonald O’Malley of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio ruled that the city’s method of electing its city council violated the Voting Rights Act. Judge O’Malley then stayed Euclid’s council elections until a new method of election is approved by the Court.
In the last year, the Department of Justice has successfully prosecuted four major cases under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.