Constitutional Law Keyed to Cohen
Rogers v. Lodge
A 1980 Census for Burke County, Georgia revealed that 53.6% of the population was comprised of black citizens and that black citizens comprised of 38% of the voting population. Whites within Burke County “constitute a slight majority of the voting population.” Burke County is governed by the Board of Commissioners consisting of five members who are elected at large to concurrent four-year terms by all those qualified to vote within Burke County. To be nominated, a candidate must receive a majority of the vote in the first primary or general election. Voters are allowed only one vote. No black has ever been elected to the Burke County Board of Commissioners. The Appellants challenged the constitutionality of the at-large voting scheme in federal district court on behalf of all black citizens in Burke County. The district court held that the even though the voting scheme was found to be “racially neutral when adopted, [it] [was] being maintained for invidious purposes” in violat ion of the Appellants’ Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendment Rights. The Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s judgment holding that the voting scheme was maintained for discriminatory purposes. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.
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