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The Always Amazing Voting Rights Act



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The Voting Rights Act is routinely if dubiously used to challenge at-large local elections, on the grounds that single-member districts would better ensure that this or that minority group will be able to elect “representatives of their choice.” But our friends at the Mountain States Legal Foundation are in a case with an interesting wrinkle. The lawsuit involves a claim that at-large voting in Fremont County, Wyoming, pursuant to state law, violates the Voting Rights Act. The ACLU contended that American Indians could not get elected to the county commission due to racially polarized voting by non-Indians.  Then, after the lawsuit was filed, in what should have been an embarrassing development for the ACLU, an American Indian candidate was elected commissioner in 2006. But the ACLU’s clients refused to be embarrassed: When asked during testimony whether the election of the new commissioner affected their case, they testified that it did not because she was from the “wrong tribe.”



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