Federal government suing Eastpointe over allegations of voting rights violations

Posted at 8:15 AM, Jan 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-11 10:57:29-05

The federal government is suing the city of Eastpointe, city council, mayor and city manager over allegations of voter rights violations.

In the lawsuit, the feds say the city has been infringing on voter rights for years.

The lawsuit points out that no black person has ever been appointed to city council or won an election for a council position. The reason, according to the federal government, is the city's ongoing and historic practice of electing council members through an "at large" process rather than voting by districts. 

The government points to census information, saying about 39 percent of the Eastpointe population is made up of the black community. Michigan law doesn't require the at-large method to elect council, according to the lawsuit. 

The government is asking for relief in the form of an election process that includes voting for candidates by district, allowing local black neighborhoods to elect candidates reflective of the racial makeup of their community.