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Judge gives Hidden Valley residents time to revise a Charlotte voting district lawsuit

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A federal judge is giving two residents of Charlotte's Hidden Valley neighborhood a chance to consult with an attorney and revise their lawsuit seeking to block Charlotte City Council's new voting districts.

The lawsuit was filed last year by activists Charlene Henderson and Cedric Dean, who say they don't agree with City Council's decision to move the predominantly Black neighborhood from District 4 to District 1.

The shift places Hidden Valley into a district that includes predominantly white neighborhoods like Plaza Midwood, Dilworth and Myers Park.

City Council approved the new districts in November by a vote of 10-1.

At the federal courthouse in uptown Charlotte Thursday, attorneys for the city asked Judge Max Cogburn Jr. to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that it failed to say how the new district violated the law.

Instead, Cogburn opted to give Henderson and Dean 30 days to revise their legal arguments and file an amended complaint. He also recommended they consult with an attorney.

Henderson said she and Dean were pleased with the judge's decision.

"He could have just given the city of Charlotte an answer right then to dismiss our claim, but he didn't," Henderson said. "He said that he wanted us to have a fair opportunity."

Henderson said she did plan to hire an attorney and file an amended complaint in the coming weeks. The city of Charlotte did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Nick de la Canal is a reporter for WFAE covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal