Fewer Voting Civil Rights Lawsuits Being Filed
Table 1. Voting Civil Rights Lawsuits
The latest available data from the federal courts show that during February 2016 the government reported 15 new voting civil rights filings. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number compares with 7 civil filings during the previous month. So far during the first five months of FY 2016 there have been 42 such filings, including suits that were reopened this year.
The comparisons of the number of civil filings for voting-related suits are based on case-by-case court records which were compiled and analyzed by TRAC (see Table 1).
When monthly FY 2016 civil rights filings of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, their number was up. However, compared with the same period five years ago, the data show that voting civil rights lawsuits are down 40.4 percent from levels reported in FY 2011.
Figure 1. Voting Civil Rights Cases Filed, FY 2008 — FY 2016 (projected)
The trend in voting civil filings going back to FY 2008 is shown more clearly in Figure 1. Each bar in Figure 1 represents the number of voting civil rights filings recorded that year, except for 2016 which is projected based on the rate of filings during the first five months (October 2015 - February 2016).
Table 2. Voting Civil Rights Cases by District
(click column header to sort)
Table 2 lists, for each U.S. Judicial District, the number of voting civil rights cases filed so far in FY 2016, as well as the number of such cases over the longer timeframe of FY 2008 - FY 2016.
The Eastern District of Arkansas (Little Rock) has had the largest number of voting civil rights lawsuits filed so far in FY 2016, with a total of 4 new cases.
Five districts have each had two cases filed this year. These are the Northern District of Alabama (Birmingham), the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta), Hawaii, the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago), and the Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
An additional 28 districts have had a single civil rights suit filed.
Over the longer term, the District of Columbia has had 77 suits since FY 2008, the largest number in the nation. In second is the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) with 69 suits, followed by the Southern District of Texas (Houston) in third place with 67 suits.
Each month, TRAC offers a free report focused on one area of civil litigation in the U.S. district courts. In addition, subscribers to the TRACFed data service can generate custom reports by district, office, nature of suit or federal jurisdiction via the TRAC Data Interpreter.