The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mills, District Judge:
Voting Rights Act violation?
Summary judgment for the School District and the Park District.
These cases have been consolidated for purposes of ruling on
Defendants' motions for summary judgment. Plaintiffs' complaints
challenge the method of electing park board trustees and school
board members under § 2 of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1973,
asserting that the at-large election systems impair the
ability of minority voters to elect representatives of their
After the filing of the complaint in the park district suit,
Plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction on March 9, 1987.
On March 20, 1987, this Court held a hearing on the motion and
denied the request to enjoin the upcoming elections. On April
2, 1987, we entered a written opinion fully setting out our
reasons for denying injunctive relief. McNeil v. Springfield
Park District, 656 F. Supp. 1200 (C.D.Ill. 1987).
Following the period of discovery, Defendants moved for
summary judgment on June 17, 1987. Plaintiffs requested and
were granted an extension of time in which to respond and filed
their response on July 24, 1987. We have considered the
extensive memoranda submitted by the parties along with the
affidavits and other supporting materials of record. The motion
is now ripe for our ruling.
The school district suit has followed approximately the same
time table with the exception of the timing of the preliminary
injunction motion. Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary
injunction was filed on May 19, 1987. The motion is still
pending; however, our decision on the summary judgment motion
moots the question of whether Plaintiffs are entitled to
1. Present Election System
Defendant Board of Education is a seven-member body established
under the School Code of the State of Illinois, Ill.Rev.Stat. ch.
122, to manage and govern the schools within District 186.
Positions on the board of education are unpaid. Ill.Rev.Stat. ch.
122, ¶ 10-10 22-1 (1985).
Elections to the board are at-large and non-partisan.
Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 46, ¶ 2A-1.2(e)(1), and ch. 122, ¶¶ 10-3,
10-4 and 10-10 (1985). There are no limits to how many candidates
may appear on the ballot; any adult citizen of the district who
files a timely nomination petition with 50 signatures may appear
on the ballot. Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 122, ¶ 9-10 (1985). There are no
primaries or majority vote requirements for elections to the
school board. Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 46, ¶ 2A-1.2(e)(1), and ch. 122,
¶¶ 10-3, 10-4, and 10-10 (1985).
Prior to 1981, members of the board served staggered 3-year
terms. Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 122, ¶¶ 10-4, 10-10 (1979). Elections
were held each year in April for two or three open seats. Id.
Because of a change in state law in 1981, board members are now
elected to 4-year terms and elections are held in November of
every odd-numbered year. The year 1983 was a transitional one.
Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 122, ¶¶ 10-4 and 10-10. That election
involved two 2-year terms and three 4-year terms.
According to the 1980 United States Census, the population of
District 186 is 122,997, of which 110,485 are white (89.82%),
11,217 are black (9.1%), and ...