In Carter’s home county, voting rights case tests democracy

PLAINS, Ga. (AP) — Former President Jimmy Carter’s home county in rural south Georgia has been embroiled in a costly voting rights lawsuit that experts say could soon be replicated nationwide.

It began nearly a decade ago when African-Americans gained a majority on Sumter County’s school board. State lawmakers then enacted a redistricting plan that eventually returned control to whites.

Civil rights leaders sued the county, setting up an expensive legal battle with the American Civil Liberties Union that’s continued to this day.

The court fight comes after the Supreme Court dismantled a federal oversight provision enshrined in the Voting Rights Act.

Jurisdictions will redistrict nationwide following the 2020 census. Without federal preclearance of redistricting plans, experts fear expensive court fights like the one in Carter’s county could become more common.

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