Beaumont lawyers are engaged in a bitter legal batter far from home in Washington, D.C. While filing their briefs for a D.C. case alleging voting rights violations, lawyers for some school board candidates have filed a separate suit over the canceled May Beaumont election, alleging the school board did not have legal authority to cancel the election. Due to the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision last week to hear a case on the Beaumont Independent School District (BISD) elections, judges held up an injunction requested by the Department of Justice.
When the school board canceled the election, lawyers representing three of the candidates who would have run unopposed filed a suit against the district.
“There is a big difference between canceling the election and having it enjoined,” Michael Getz, one of the attorney said in a phone interview. “They don’t have legal authority to change the election.”
Getz also filed his brief with the D.C. court on Wednesday, the first step in a contentious case involving allegations of racial discrimination and the Voting Rights Act.
“The school district has been breaking the law for 26 years, and someone called it on them this year,” Getz said of his case in D.C.
The seven-member school board was to have an election in May. Three of the districts are majority black and represented by black board members. Members serve 4-year terms, with staggered elections—every two years, either three or four seats are up for election.
After the Census and redistricting, Beaumont was to hold a May election for all seven districts. Four of the members would have only served two years before facing reelection. Incumbents for three of those four districts were not aware they were up for reelection, and did not file in time to be eligible for the May election. Those three districts are the majority black districts.