Georgia State Conference of the NAACP v. Fayette Cnty. Bd. of Comm'rs, No. 14-11202 (11th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed suit claiming that Fayette County's at-large election system violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, 52 U.S.C. 10301, by effectively guaranteeing that no African-American would be able to participate in the political process through election to the Board of Commissioners (BOC) and the Board of Education (BOE), nor would African-American voters be able to elect representatives of their choice to either entity. The district court granted summary judgment in plaintiffs' favor, finding that the at-large election method used by both the BOC and BOE resulted in impermissible vote dilution. However, the court concluded that the district court failed to notice the BOE that it was considering awarding summary judgment against it; the district court weighed the evidence submitted by the moving parties, accepting the support proffered by plaintiffs and rejecting the contrary evidence presented by the BOC; and, therefore, without opining as to the correctness of the district court's substantive conclusions, the district court erred in its Section 2 determination on summary judgment. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings.