Saturday, May 28, 2022

Lawsuit filed against Lewisville ISD over voting rights

A lawsuit was filed in federal court this week against Lewisville ISD and its trustees alleging that the district’s election system “violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965 because it denies fair representation to voters of color,” according to a news release from Brewer Storefront attorneys.

The lawsuit claims the district’s at-large voting system denies Hispanic, Asian and black voters “a fair opportunity to elect school board representatives of their choice,” pointing to the fact that all seven school board members, as they have been for years, are white. The student population was 37.6% white, 30.5% Hispanic, 15.5% Asian and 11.6% African-American in 2020-21, according to Brewer Storefront, and the lawsuit says there should be board members of color for more fair representation.

Paige Dixon

“Our client represents a large number who believe the at-large election system used by Lewisville ISD illegally denies citizens of color a fair opportunity to elect candidates of their choosing – trustees that represent their interests, schools and communities,” said William A. Brewer III, partner at Brewer Storefront and lead counsel for plaintiff Paige Dixon, a black woman who lost her race for a spot on the board last year. “Clearly, the school board should adopt an electoral process which allows minority voters and community members to fairly participate in this vibrant, multiracial school district.”

Under the current electoral system, school board members are elected at large. Candidates run for “places” but do not represent any specific geographic area. The lawsuit claims the at-large system rewards white voters for voting as a bloc and denies political opportunity to non-white voters.

“Unfortunately, when the electoral process by which officials are chosen ‘stacks the deck’ against people of color such bodies cease to be ‘representative,'” the lawsuit said. “The at-large system discourages minority-preferred candidates from seeking office because it effectively functions as a white-controlled referendum on all candidates where white voters control all seven Trustee positions.”

A LISD spokesperson could not be reached Friday. They have declined to comment to other news outlets.

A similar lawsuit against LISD was thrown out in 2020 because the judge determined the plaintiff, a white man, didn’t show that his voting rights were impacted, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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