ACLU Files Complaint Regarding Red Clay Tax Referendum

Update (2/10/17): You may read the defendant’s Post-Trial Corrected Answering Brief and the plaintiffs’ Reply Post-Trial Brief.
Update (12/19/16): Post-trial briefing is underway. Our opening brief is here.
Update: (9/21/16): The has court denied Red Clay’s motion to dismiss the case, while also ruling that the Board of Elections did not have statutory authority to deny certification of the vote. A three day trial has been held.
Update (4/15/15): Due to new evidence, an updated complaint was filed on April 13th.
Update (4/10/15): NBC 10 Investigators interviewed our client about her experience trying to vote in the Red Clay tax referendum. View the video here.

Contact: Kathleen MacRae, Executive Director; [email protected], 302-654-5326 x102

Wilmington, DE (March 27, 2015) – The American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware filed a complaint today in Chancery Court challenging the results of the Red Clay Consolidated School District February 24th school tax referendum, asking the court to overturn the results and call for a new referendum. The complaint asserts that Red Clay used its governmental power to skew the turnout and results in favor of the tax increase by scheduling family fun nights, using empty school buses to block handicap parking spaces, and giving free pizza to students once their parents had voted, among other actions. The complaint also names the Board of Elections for New Castle County because they certified the election results despite knowledge of extensive complaints about how the referendum was conducted and a forthcoming request that the Attorney General’s Office investigate the election procedures.

The proposed tax increase was approved 6,395 to 5,515.

The ACLU filed this complaint because, above all else, every voter must be given fair and equal access to the ballot box. That is a fundamental value of our democracy. This complaint has nothing to do with the results of the referendum. It has everything to do with process. Government, including school districts, cannot use their power to rig elections in violation of state and federal law,” said Kathleen MacRae, ACLU executive director.

The complaint claims that, with the referendum polling places in school buildings, Red Clay was required by law to act neutrally, which it did not do. Instead, Red Clay took action that would provide greater access to the polls for those who supported the tax increase and deliberately blocked the participation of those with mobility disabilities, who were more likely to be elderly and believed to be opposed to the tax increase.

Rebecca Young and her elderly parents Elizabeth (age 88) and James L. Young (age 90) drove twice to a Red Clay school for the purpose of voting against the proposed tax increase. However, they were unable to do so because of the unavailability of parking. The severe lack of parking at numerous polling places in the district also gave the impression that the waiting line to vote was overly long, which was not the case.

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