Appeals Court Upholds Chilton County's Cumulative Voting

Clanton, Ala., Aug. 21 (AP)-- A federal appeals court has reversed a lower court and left in place the cumulative voting system that integrated the previously all-white Chilton County Commission.

Monday's ruling by an Atlanta-based federal appeals court was a victory for voting rights activists who sued Chilton County and more than 150 other Alabama cities and counties in the 1980's to reshape political boundaries.

However, Chilton County was different. It was 90 percent white, and the 10 percent black population was too spread out to design a district with enough black voters to elect a black county commissioner.

Black citizens and the county reached an agreement in 1988 that expanded the commission from four members to seven members elected countywide.

Black voters were able to elect black commissioner Bobby Agee, who still serves on the commission.