NAACP officials warns Chattanooga about Voting Rights Act

NAACP officials warns Chattanooga about Voting Rights Act

November 1st, 2011 by Cliff Hightower in Local - Breaking News

Joe Rowe, the NAACP's first vice president for political affairs

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

A local vice president of the NAACP told the Chattanooga City Council today it could be in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by predetermining how many districts the city should have in which minorities comprise the majority of residents.

"I continue to hear we are looking at three majority minority districts," Joe Rowe, first vice president of the Chattanooga NAACP, told council members. "But when I ask, 'Why not four?', I don't hear anything."

He said the council first needs to look at the number of voting blacks within the city and work from those numbers.

The council has so far been trying to preserve a traditional three majority minority districts with a swing district. In the majority minority districts, Rowe said, blacks should make up about 65 percent of the population.

Rowe told the council members that, if they work with those numbers, there could be "two majority minority districts, there may be four."

After addressing the council, he said three majority minority districts at 65 percent would be stronger than two at 70 percent and two at around 50 percent plus one.

For more information, read tomorrow's edition of the Times Free Press.