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24 May 2012

Federal Judge Halts Clayton County School Board Elections

The Clayton News Daily reported Wednesday that shortly after qualifying began, county elections officials informed would-be candidates could not run for school board due to a federal injunction halting Clayton County School Board elections.

A federal judge has ordered Clayton County elections officials to postpone indefinitely the elections for five seats on the county’s nine-member school board because their districts are based on 12-year old population data and likely violate the U.S. Constitution.

Federal District Court Judge Charles A. Pannell, Jr., wrote in his order that the 2010 Census shows the county’s nine school board districts are now grossly out of proportion, with 37,000 people living in the largest district, while 22,000 people live in the smallest district.

“The court finds that there is a substantial likelihood that the variances violate the ‘one-person, one-vote’ principle of the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, because the voting strength of individual voters in some districts would be disproportionately less than that of individual voters in other districts,” Pannell wrote.

Yeomans, Curt (2012-5-23). Federal judge: Stop Clayton BOE elections immediately. Clayton News Daily. Retrieved on 2012-5-24.

The legal action (Anderson et al v. Clayton County Elections and Registration Board et al) was filed after the Georgia General Assembly failed to pass maps re-drawing the Clayton County School Board districts. Judge Pannell will likely draw new maps before lifting the injunction on the school board elections.