Protestors claim "We're under attack" at Jefferson County courth - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Protestors claim "We're under attack" at Jefferson County courthouse

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About 100 hundred protestors gathered at the Jefferson County Courthouse, Tuesday, in opposition of the recent SCOTUS ruling which struck down Sect. 4 of the Voting Rights Act.

The ruling is likely to have heavy impact on the Beaumont Independent School District. In 2011, voters approved changing the makeup of the school board from 7 single district members to 5 single district members and 2 at-large seats. A map was drawn but was shot down by the Department of Justice.

Based on the SCOTUS ruling, entities like BISD who have had to go through pre-clearance with the DOJ may not have to do so anymore.

Critics of the protest say a second reason is a motion before the 9th court of appeals arguing that the court enforce it's order that all 7 board seats be up for re-election after redistricting.

If that ruling stands, three trustees would lose their seats in a November election: Woodrow Reece, Terry Williams and Zenobia Bush. They did not file to run because back in March they didn't believe they were up for re-election.

But three people did file to run: Linda Gilmore, Donna Forgas and Marcelino Rodriquez. Since Reece, Williams and Bush missed the deadline, the three others would automatically take their spots on the board.

At Tuesday's rally downtown, those who spoke to the crowd said this is manipulation of minority voting.

Members of the crowd spoke saying "We're under attack." Beaumont resident and rally organizer, Paul Jones, tells 12News minorities are under attack with the recent ruling because minorities feel they will not be fairly represented.

School board president, Woodrow Reece, told the crowd that BISD passed a $389 million bond. He said "We did this black and white and at the end of the day, the whites wanted to pull out. They (a group that supports the 5-2 plan) just want power. I'm not giving them power."

Board trustee Zenobia Bush also spoke to the crowd saying "I'm tired of being sick and tired. We're tired of it and we're not going to take it anymore."

Jones says the purpose of the protest was to raise awareness that everyone needs to write their local representatives about voting rights.

There were several people who support the 5-2 plan in attendance.

Attorney Michael Truncale tells 12News "We need to preserve our constitutional right. One person, one vote. We believe in the rule of law and it's the rule of law that has protected these fine people all these years."

The Beaumont ISD school district has until FRiday to respond to the 9th Court of Appeals.

The district must justify, by Friday, how it is going to abide by the court's previous order.

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