CounterPunch Reader Asks about Civil Rights

Q: I read your article in Counterpunch. Some

questions:

Was Bethlehem Church pct. primarily black? And were the college
students

voting there primarily black? Were the county commissioner
elections district-based, or at-large?

As I recollect, county
commissioners elections in Texas are always district-based. If so,
was

Denson-Prince running from the most heavily black district? Were
there other black county

commissioners elected previously? What is
the overall black % in Kaufman County? How many of the

elected
commissioners were Democrats?

I ask these questions because, depending on the

answers, there may be
grounds for a voting rights suit claiming racial

gerrymandering.

As regards the claim of vote fraud, it sounds, well, somewhat

plausible. But the existence of racial harassment–the Republican
(and presumably white) poll

watcher making a nuisance of himself at a
precinct that may be a black precinct–is pretty clear

evidence of
racial intimidation of the kind that could be useful in a racial
gerrymandering

lawsuit.

A: Yes, yes, the church, the college, and the
boxes south of

the tracks are all predominantly black.
And a white Republican will now replace a black
Democrat

in the Northeast Commissioner’s seat, leaving the
four-man commissioner’s court not only free of

Democrats,
but also free of black representation. Retiring Ivan Johnson
is African American.

Census 2000 QuickFacts for Kaufman County report 11.5 percent African American. Here are some

details:

Going by the 2000 census tracts, the South Terrell
area is 88 percent black (tract

505, voting boxes 26,
34, 5). These boxes went heavily for Denson-Prince,
all others went for

her white opponent.

North of the tracks, the west side: 70 percent white,
10 percent

black, and 16 percent Hispanic (census
tract 503, voting boxes 38 & 19).

North of the

tracks, on the east side: 63 percent
white, 9 percent black, and 25 percent Hispanic
(census

tract 504, voting box 7).

Then we have the rural boxes in the northeast county:
88

percent white, 5 percent black, 7 percent Hispanic
(census tract 506, voting boxes 6, 8, and

9).

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