According to the complaint, five members are elected to the Board of Commissioners through a countywide at-large election. Even though black voters constitute 31.8 percent of the county’s voting-age population, they have been unable to elect a black candidate to the Board of Commissioners for over two decades. The complaint alleged the system violates section two of the Voting Rights Act.
The suit said the number of voting-age black voters in Jones County is large and compact, and would be able to constitute a majority in at least one single-member district. But this is not possible under the current, at-large system which dilutes the votes of the black population in the county.
Dorian Spence, counsel at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said the result of black candidates not getting enough support to be elected to the Board of Commissioners is that the board doesn’t respond to the needs of the community.
Spence said having single-member districts would give more representation to all county voters.