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District 2 election back in court

Mar 30, 2010 11:43:00 PM - thestate.com
Columbia's District 2 City Council election, scheduled for Tuesday, is being challenged in court again - this time by a retired USC law professor and three District 2 residents asking a federal judge to stop the election because they say it violates the Voting Rights Act.

The election survived a challenge in the state courts, which ended last week with a state Supreme Court ruling setting the election for April 6. The court ruled unanimously against Paul Denman, a District 2 resident who had asked the court to halt the election.

This latest court challenge was filed Tuesday by Katharine Butler, a retired USC law school professor who spent 35 years studying the federal Voting Rights Act, which was first passed in 1965.

Former City Councilman E.W. Cromartie resigned March 9 while facing federal tax evasion charges. The next day, City Council members voted to schedule the election to replace him for April 6, the date for the rest of this year's city elections.

Butler is joined in the case by three District 2 residents: Willie King Jr., Josette McDaniel and Marvin Heller, president of the Lyon Street Neighborhood Association.