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Former school board candidate Banko is suing School Board Member Diyonne McGraw

Press release from Childers Law, LLC

Local attorney Jeff Childers is representing former school board candidate Khanh-Lien Banko along with several other plaintiffs in a lawsuit against School Board Member Diyonne McGraw, over McGraw’s ineligibility to hold that office because she resides outside her elected school board district. Childers said that he intends to file the lawsuit this week.

McGraw recently gave TV20 some documents purporting to show that her residence should be included in District 2, the district for which she was elected, instead of District 4, where the Supervisor of Elections’ map shows that she lives. When asked about McGraw’s documents, attorney Childers said that “the documents don’t amount to any legal argument. Ms. McGraw is making some kind of non-legal argument about fairness, and my clients disagree that her disqualification is unfair in any way.”

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Childers pointed to one of the documents included by McGraw, a 2001 school board resolution assigning the 53 county voting precincts to the five school board districts. “In 2001, Ms. McGraw’s residence — then in voting precinct 12 —was assigned to school board District 4. So even in 2001, her residence was located in District 4,” Childers said. Today, McGraw’s residence is located in voting precinct 57, which, Childers said, “did not even exist in 2001—the last time the School Board re-drew any school board districts. Ms. McGraw was always in school board district 4.”

McGraw’s current assigned precinct number is 57, which is not even mentioned on the 2001 school board resolution that she provided to TV20. On that document, the precincts only go up to precinct number 53.

“Ms. McGraw seems to be confused about the difference between voting precincts, which are redrawn by the County after each census, and school board districts, which are drawn by the School Board whenever needed to ensure an equal number of voters live in each of the five districts,” Childers explained. “But nothing happens automatically to school board districts whenever the County adds precincts, removes precincts, or changes precinct lines. District boundaries stay the same until the School Board changes them.”

The Alachua County Supervisor of Elections has stated that McGraw lives in school board District 4, not District 2. Voting precinct 57, which did not exist the last time school board district boundaries were drawn in 2001, stretches across both District 2 and District 4.

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