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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 1:06-cv-01652-KMO
CITY OF EUCLID, OHIO; EUCLID CITY
COUNCIL; CUYAHOGA COUNTY
BOARD OF ELECTIONS,
The United States of America, plaintiff
1. The Attorney General
files this action pursuant to Sections 2 and 12(d) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965,
as amended, 42 U.S.C. 1973, and 42 U.S.C. 1973j(d).
2. The Court has jurisdiction
of this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1345 and 42 U.S.C. 1973j(f).
3. Defendant City of
Euclid, Ohio is a political and geographical subdivision of the State of Ohio.
4. Defendant Euclid City
Council is the body established under the laws of the State of Ohio that is
responsible for governing the City of Euclid.
5. Defendant Cuyahoga
County Board of Elections is responsible for exercising certain powers and duties
associated with the conduct of elections in the City of Euclid, including elections
for the Euclid City Council.
6. Section 2 of the
Voting Rights Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 1973, prohibits the enforcement of any
voting qualification or prerequisite to voting or any standard, practice, or
procedure that results in the denial or abridgement of the right to vote on
account of race or color.
7. The plaintiff
alleges that the at-large/ward method of electing the Euclid City Council dilutes
the voting strength of African-American citizens, in violation of Section 2 of the
Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973.
8. According to the
2000 Census, the City of Euclid has a total population of 52,717. Of this total
population, 30.5% (16,297) is African-American, and 65.7% (34,678) is white.
Other groups comprise less than four percent of the population.
9. According to the
2000 Census, the City of Euclid has a total voting age population of 40,937,
27.8% (11,397) of which is African-American and 69.7% (28,528) of which is white.
10. The Euclid City
Council is composed of nine members, five of whom are elected at large and four
of whom are elected by ward to two-year concurrent terms. The at-large elections
are composed of one council president and four numbered posts.
11. Racially polarized
voting patterns prevail in elections for the Euclid City Council. African-American
voters voting for the Euclid City Council are politically cohesive. White bloc
voting usually results in the defeat of candidates who are preferred by
African-American voters. That is, in elections since 1995 for the Euclid City
Council, white voters have consistently voted as a bloc so as to defeat every
African-American preferred African-American candidate. The African-American
population of the City of Euclid is sufficiently numerous and geographically
compact that a properly apportioned single-member district plan for electing the
Defendant City Council can be drawn in which black citizens would constitute a
majority of the total population, and voting age population in two districts.
12. In addition to the
Euclid City Council's mixed use of at-large/ward elections, there
are several features of its current election system that reduce the opportunity
of African-American voters to overcome the effect of white bloc voting. These
include the use of numbered slots, which has the effect of limiting elections to
single seat elections that result in head-to-head contests, thereby eliminating
the opportunity of African-American voters to single-shot vote.
in the City of Euclid have suffered from a history of official discrimination.
socioeconomic disparities exist between white and African-American residents of
the City of Euclid. Such disparities have the effect of limiting African-American
participation in Euclid City Council elections.
15. Social, civic,
and political life in the City of Euclid is divided along racial lines. This racial
separation results in African-American candidates for city office having less opportunity
than white candidates to solicit the votes of the majority voters, who are white.
CAUSE OF ACTION
16. Under the totality
of the circumstances, the mixed at-large/ward election system for electing the
Euclid City Council has the effect of diluting African-American voting strength,
resulting in African-American citizens being denied an opportunity equal to that
afforded to other members of the electorate to participate in the political process
and elect representatives of their choice, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting
Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973.
17. Unless enjoined by
order of this Court, Defendants will continue to conduct elections for the Euclid
City Council under the present method of election that denies African-American
citizens the opportunity to participate equally with white citizens in the political
process and to elect candidates of their choice, in violation of Section 2 of the
Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, the United States of America
prays that the Court enter an order:
- Declaring that the mixed at-large and ward method of electing members of the
Euclid City Council violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act;
- Enjoining Defendants City of Euclid, Euclid City Council, Cuyahoga County
Board of Elections, their agents and successors in office, and all persons acting in
concert with any of them, from administering, implementing, or conducting any
future elections for the Euclid City Council under the current mixed at-large and
ward method of electing members;
- Ordering Defendants City of Euclid and the Euclid City Council to devise and
implement an election system for the Euclid City Council which complies with
Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973; and
- Ordering such additional relief as the interests of justice may require, together
with the costs and disbursements in maintaining this action.
WAN J. KIM
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
GREGORY A. WHITE
United States Attorney
Chief, Voting Section
Principal Deputy Chief, Voting Section
SEAN W. O'DONNELL
Attorneys, Voting Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20530
(202) 305-1582 (phone)
(202) 307-3961 (facsimile)
firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail address)
Attorneys for United States of America