No black resident has ever won office for council, school board or legislative district in this Macomb County city, even though one-third of its electorate is black, according to the federal government. The U.S. Justice Department blames Eastpointe’s electoral process, saying electing members by citywide popular vote — instead of by district — is racially discriminatory and violates the Voting Rights Act. The Justice Department on Tuesday filed a federal complaint seeking to end the practice, which city officials say has been in place since 1929.
“Eastpointe has racially polarized voting patterns, with white voters consistently opposing and defeating the preferred candidates of Eastpointe’s sizable black community,” a Justice Department statement said on Wednesday.
The complaint alleges a history of general racial discrimination in Eastpointe, which in the past was called East Detroit, including race-based residency requirements and proposals to close streets connecting to Detroit. The lawsuit is not based on any complaint filed against the city nor does it name a complainant, as is the case in other civil lawsuits filed by the government.
Full Article: DOJ files voting rights suit against Eastpointe.