Lawsuit claims 43k Guilford residents will lose representation

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — A lawsuit has been filed to try to prevent 43,000 taxpayers from losing direct representation on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners for two years.

The North Carolina NAACP filed the lawsuit on behalf of those residents Thursday. It names House Speaker Thom Tillis, Senator Pro Tempore Phil Berger and the Guilford County Board of Elections as defendants.

The suit revolves around a bill the General Assembly passed last year, which would reduce the number of Guilford County commissioners from 11 to 9. The law called for eight commissioner districts, with one voted at-large.

The law also called for the districts to be redrawn, but that’s where the problem lies, according to not only the NAACP but also some county commissioners.

Those groups contend Kay Cashion, who represents District 6, can’t represent the new District 6 because she doesn’t live within its new boundaries.

Since her term runs until 2014, that would leave about 43,000 people in western Greensboro and north High Point without representation among county commissioners.

The lawsuit calls for a special election to be held in the district.

“It’s unconstitutional, it’s not fair, and I’m glad to see that lawsuit moving forward,” said Commissioner Bruce Davis. “The constituents who live in that new district will not have someone that they can go to who would be sitting at this board.”

Commissioner Billy Yow said he wants state lawmakers to call a special session to step in and act fast.

“We are going to have to do something to assure that these folks are going to have representation. They can’t be left out without representation. That is just taxation without representation, and that is just not going to get it,” Yow said.

To get something on the ballot this year, election officials said they would have to be given notice by Feb. 13.

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