Hoke County in Southern Central North Carolina is a terribly corrupt place.  It is allegedly the second poorest county in the State.  Since the County's founding in 1911 there has never been a Republican County Commissioner.  

On Monday 20 February 2017, agents from the State Bureau of Investigation descended on Hoke County Administrative offices and executed several search warrants. Allegedly these warrants referred to time sheets of some County employees.   One or more employees resigned and that at least one former employee will be criminally charged.  This matter is still in the embryonic stage. Frankly, agents from the S.B.I. are not normally involved with wage and time card issues.  It is suspected that there are other "real" reasons for the warrants.

I believe that the root cause of the corruption in the county government is the "one party" rule that has existed for 106 years. Bad ideas are never challenged among political allies and friends. "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."  The residents of the county have paid for this corruption with job losses, closing of productive establishments, higher than average crime rates, an absence of job opportunities and high property taxes.  

Civil action (1:17-CV-78) filed in the USDC for the Middle District North Carolina on 31 January 2017, is probably the only Complaint ever filed in history where a "white" person has complained about "at large" voting producing a  "racial gerrymander".   This gerrymander has produced a "black" majority Board of Commissioners with a concurrent of lack of representation for whites in the County.


While we cannot predict the resolution of the Covington matter, if any relief is to be given to the voters of Hoke County, it will take time to review this case and define voting districts and voting places as well as time for candidate preparation.

There are approximately 50,000 people in Hoke County.  The number of people affected by “at large” voting is large.

Hopefully, the underlying complaint is self-explanatory.  The Complaint is truly Pro Bono Publico in that the real plaintiff parties-in-interest are the voters of Hoke County.  


_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA


Russell F. Walker,                                    )                 

Plaintiff                                                 )

vs.                                                       )

North Carolina State Board of Elections       )                         C.A. NO. 1:17-CV-78

and                                                      )

Hoke County Board of Elections,                 )       

                             Defendants                )

         

                                              COMPLAINT IN EQUITY

Summary -- This is an action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 and §1988(a), 28 U.S.C. §1331 and 1343(a) which prays that the present Hoke County “at large” election scheme be abolished and that election districts be created because it deprives the plaintiff of rights, privileges secured by the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the State of North Carolina.

Opening paragraph from RALEIGH WAKE CITIZENS v. BOARD OF ELECTIONS, 827 F.3d 333 (CA 4th - 2016)

 “The right to vote is "fundamental," and once that right "is granted to the electorate, lines may not be drawn which are inconsistent with the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment." Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98, 104-05, 121 S.Ct. 525, 148 L.Ed.2d 388 (2000).  "It must be remembered that" the right to vote "can be denied by a debasement or dilution of the weight of a citizen's vote just as effectively as by wholly prohibiting the free exercise." Id. (quoting Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 555, 84 S.Ct. 1362, 12 L.Ed.2d 506 (1964)).”

PARTIES

1. Plaintiff, Russell Walker is a registered voter and has voted in at least the two most recent elections.


2.  Defendant North Carolina State Board of Elections is a distinct legal entity, with offices in Raleigh, NC, created by state statute and empowered by state law with the responsibility of administering elections for the State of North Carolina.


3.  Defendant Hoke County Board of Elections is a distinct legal entity, with offices in Hoke County, created by state statute and empowered by state law with the responsibility of administering elections for the Hoke County Board of County Commissioners.  Hoke County is within the Middle District of North Carolina.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

4.  This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1343(a)(3); and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988(a).


5.  This Court has the authority to issue declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2202.


6. This Court has pendent jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ state constitutional claim under 28 U.S.C. §1367.
Venue in this district is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1391(b).

ALLEGATIONS

7.  Hoke County is a political subdivision of the State of North Carolina and is administratively controlled by      5 County Commissioners.
8.  The Hoke County Commissioners are currently elected in an “at large” manner.


9.  Based upon 2015 publicly available US Census estimates, the population of Hoke County is    approximately 51% white and 49% non-white.


Census data 2015 estimate

White alone, percent, July 1, 2015     50.6%

Black or African American alone, percent, July 1, 2015   33.5%

American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent, July 1, 2015   9.3%

10.  Presently in 2017 there are 4 non-white County Commissioners and one white County Commissioner on the Hoke County Board of Commissioners.


11.  Based on information and belief none of the 5 present commissioners reside in Quewhiffle Township.


12.  Plaintiff resides in Quewhiffle Township.  Quewhiffle Township is in the extreme western portion of the County and is primarily agricultural in nature.


13.  The composition of the Board of Commissioners is racially skewed due to racial block voting in the City of Raeford and political organizations deriving their power and influence from several colored Church congregations.


14.  The resulting composition of the Board of Commissioners differs significantly from the County population makeup as a whole due to the de facto representation of the Board of Commissioners due to the weighted influence of voters especially in the City of Raeford.


15.  Plaintiff’s right to vote has been debased and diluted to the point of effective denial though the “democratic” process.


16.  As a result of this block voting, the Board of Commissioners have voted inter alia, for projects that are economically ridiculous and only serve a limited portion of the county’s residents.  The 2008 $3.8 million giveaway of 500 of acres of land to private interests and an approximately $150,000 splash area in the City of Raeford are just two examples.


17.  Residents of Quewhiffle Township are forced to pay through mandated property taxation for projects that do not benefit them and for which they have no recourse to oppose.  It’s called “Taxation without representation”. 


18.  Many citizens of the County are deprived of effective representation in violation of the “equal protection clause” of the 14th Amendment of United States Constitution and article 1 section 19 of the North Carolina Constitution.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays that the Court:

19.  Declare that the “at-large” method of election currently established in Hoke County violates the equal protection clause and  the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 1 §19 of the North Carolina Constitution; and

20.  Declare that the “at-large” method of election constitutes a racial gerrymander in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.


21.  Declare that the rights and privileges of Plaintiff will be irreparably harmed without the intervention of this Court to secure those rights for the exercise thereof in a timely and meaningful manner.


22.  Enter a preliminary injunction, and a permanent injunction enjoining the Defendants, their agents, officers and employees, from enforcing or giving any effect to the current “at large” election procedures for that relate to the method of election of members of the Hoke County Board of Commissioners.


23.  Declare that the unless the North Carolina General Assembly acts to promulgate a non-discriminatory lawful method of election for the Hoke County Board of Commissioners, constitutional state laws require that the Hoke County Board of Commissioners itself adopt a districting plan that does comply with the one-person, one-vote requirement of the state and federal constitutions.  


24.  Make all further orders as are just, necessary and proper to preserve Plaintiffs’ rights to participate equally in elections to the Hoke County Board of Commissioners.


25.  Plaintiff prays that the defendant Boards of Elections be ordered to set up 5 election districts with each election district in Hoke County being represented by one representative County Commissioner.
Presumably, each election district would have an approximately equal number of voters, be compact and be contiguous.


26.  The assignment of districts should be complete so that an election in November 2017 would present to the voters an opportunity to select Commissioners of their individual choice.


27.  Grant such other relief as the Court deems just and proper.
Pursuant to 28 U.S. Code § 1746 --

“I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed on 31 January 2017



__________________
Russell F. Walker

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

                                         IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

                                                  FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT

 

In re:  Russell F. Walker, Petitioner                                    Case Number 17-1383

 

                                            PETITION FOR A WRIT OF MANDAMUS

Relief Sought

COMES NOW, Russell F. Walker, Pro Se, and prays that this Court issue a Writ of Mandamus to the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina -- Magistrate Joe E. Webster, to assign the underlying case to a District Judge with the case heard on an expedited basis.

Issues Presented

That the underlying case of Russell F. Walker v. Hoke County et al., 1:17-CV-78 be placed on an expedited basis.   

 
Facts Necessary

On 31 January 2017 petitioner filed a Complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. The complaint was assigned docket number 1:17-CV-78 and assigned to Magistrate Joe Webster. The USDC for the Middle District of North Carolina in the case of Covington vs. North Carolina (1:15-CV-399)  on Nov 29, 2016 issued an Order calling for elections in the fall of 2017.   The United States Supreme Court, C.J. Roberts issued a stay in this matter.  North Carolina vs. Covington on 10 January 2017. 

It is not unreasonable to believe that the appointment of Judge Gorsuch will be confirmed in the next 2 weeks or so by the US Senate to be a Justice of the US Supreme Court.  It is not unreasonable to believe that the Roberts’ stay might be lifted once Gorsuch joins the Court. 

In a prior case, Russell Walker vs. J.T. Thomas Inc., Magistrate Webster granted motions to two defendants even before a copy of the defendants’ motion arrived in my mail in spite of Local Civil Rule 6.1(a), denied every one of my motions and unsurprisingly ultimately ruled against me.  I complained to Judge Battles about the granting of motions ex parte but was rebuffed as well.  An appeal was denied as untimely.

The current complaint Russell Walker vs. North Carolina State Board of Elections et al., 1:17-CV-78, has a racial component.

Walker is white and based upon information and belief Webster is black. I have never seen nor met Magistrate Webster.

On 27 February 2017 a Motion to Expedite Proceedings, Docket #11,  was filed with the District Court.  As of 24 March 2017 no decision has been made on this petition

Reasons why a Writ should issue –

Justice delayed is justice denied.  I believe that Magistrate Webster has shown prejudice against me in the past and now he will have a racial animus to do so.

Mandamus is an extraordinary Writ and is to be used sparingly.  This matter is extreme however due to time constraints of possible fall 2017 elections, past prejudice shown and current injury to the number of voters of Hoke County,  involved.  These facts justify the Writ.

The alleged racial gerrymander of Hoke County is more extreme than that alleged in Covington vs. North Carolina.

While we cannot predict the resolution of the Covington matter, if any relief is to be given to the voters of Hoke County, it will take time to review this case and define voting districts and decide upon voting places.

There are approximately 50,000 people in Hoke County.  The number of people affected by “at large” voting is large.

The Covington District Court Order stated in part --- 

“While special elections have costs, those costs pale in comparison to the injury caused by allowing citizens to continue to be represented by legislators elected pursuant to a racial gerrymander.”

The underlying Walker complaint is truly Pro Bono Publico and the real party-in-interest are the voters of Hoke County.  Walker seeks no damages and no relief from prison etc. 

Pursuant to 28 U.S. Code § 1746 --  “I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.  

Executed on 24 March 2017.


__________________
Russell F. Walker


_____________________________________________________________________________________


Following is the Informal Brief filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit following the dismissal of the complaint in the District Court.

 
                                       IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

                                                 FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT

                                                   Docket number 17-1727

Russell F. Walker,
Appellant

vs.

North Carolina State Board of Elections


and

Hoke County Board of Elections,

Appellees

                                              INFORMAL BRIEF


RULING UNDER REVIEW

Appellant Walker seeks review of the final Order dismissing case 1:17-CV-78, dated June 8, 2017,  by Judge Catherine Eagles of the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. Jurisdiction is granted to this Court by 28 U.S. Code §1291

RELATED CASES

A petition for a Writ of Mandamus, 17-1383,  was dismissed by this Court.   There are no other cases related to this matter.

ISSUE FOR REVIEW

Does Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, currently codified at 52 U.S.C. §10301-- only apply to blacks, minorities etc. or not?  Are majorities also to be included and protected by the law?

The greatest racial gerrymander in US history is the composition of the Board of Commissioners for Hoke County North Carolina.  Basically, the white voters comprise 51% of the voting public and the representation on the Board of Commissioners is 1 member out of 5 members or a 2.5 (51%  20%) to 1 ratio of voters to representation.  That is not my idea of Equal Protection of the Law nor democracy in its crudest form.

This is a case of FIRST IMPRESSION.  I cannot find a previously reported case where a majority group (white) has been disenfranchised by a minority (black) government.  The District Court did not cite any case with a similar or nearly similar factual situation nor has either defendant, as of yet, cited such a case.

Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, currently codified at 52 U.S.C. §10301, states as follows: 

“No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision in a manner which results in a denial or abridgment of the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color . . . .”


Presumably “any” includes white citizens.  Nothing in this statute refers to “minority”, “majority” or “discriminatory purpose”, terms mentioned by the District Court on page 3 of its ORDER. 

The District Court Order referred to Bartlett v. Strickland, 556 US 1 (2009).  See section IIIB of Bartlett as follows:   

“Of course, the "moral imperative of racial neutrality is the driving force of the Equal Protection Clause, . . ."

This comes from Bartlett and is its key phrase.  Racial neutrality.  Note that Walker is NOT asking for any kind of racial district only that districts be compact, having an approximately equal number of voters and be contiguous.  Refer to ¶28 of the Complaint.  This is neutrality and reasonableness at their best.

Bartlett Section IV states as follows:

Much remains to be done to ensure that citizens of all races have equal opportunity to share and participate in our democratic processes and traditions; and §2 must be interpreted to ensure that continued progress.

The situation in Hoke County is that “At-large” voting is used not just to discriminate, disparage but ultimately to destroy the voices and votes of the white population.  Section 2 was enacted with a “results test” as the dispositive rationale.

The District Court claims that only a ”minority population” has the protection of Section 2 in opposition to Bartlett.  Is the District Court saying that “majority population” has no access and protection of the law.  Talk about discrimination.  Is that the meaning and the desired result of “Equal Protection of the Law”?  Only minorities have any protection but majorities don’t?  What if the white voters in Hoke County were a minority of 49%, then would the whites have the protection of Section 2?  If so that is just not illogical but insanity in operation.

On June 29, 1982, Reagan signed into law an amended Section 2 to create a "results" test, which prohibits any voting law that has a discriminatory effect irrespective of whether the law was intentionally enacted or maintained for a discriminatory purpose.  

Viewing Hoke County politics under the microscope of a “totality of the circumstances.” situation, shows us that 

Hoke County has never had a Republican Commissioner in its 106 years of existence.  Presently there are 5 Democrats on the Board of Commissioners, 4 non-white (Negro and American Indian) and one white.  What else needs to be said regarding the “totality of circumstances”?  Can a racial gerrymander be any more racial than in Hoke County?  I doubt it and I don’t believe anyone can show me a more racially and politically polarized jurisdiction in the United States.

The bottom line truth is that the white voters in Hoke County do not have just a diluted influence, they have no influence except to pay taxes.

RELIEF REQUESTED

Walker prays that this case be remanded to the USDC for the Middle District of North Carolina with instructions to abolish “At-Large” voting for the County Commissioners and to set up five reasonably compact and approximately equal-number-of voters, districts with each district having one commissioner.  Walker also prays that new elections be held under a district format as soon as possible

Respectfully submitted,

 

___________________

Russell F. Walker 

20 June 2017

RACIAL GERRYMANDERING