The California Voting Rights Act may befuddle another city as a lawsuit is expected to be filed in Escondido, if the City Council decides not to act. The suit would challenge the city’s at-large voting system, one which some say disenfranchises minority voters.
The CVRA is designed to protect minorities from having their electoral will overpowered by a majority. In other words, when a district can be drawn to maximize the influence of a minority, it must be drawn. In Escondido, a concentrated pocket of Latinos is currently being overshadowed by the otherwise Caucasian city.
In the last 123 years, only one Latino has been elected to the city council, despite a population that is now 48.6 percent Latino and 40.7 percent white.
From the San Diego Union Tribune:
Change the way Escondido elects its City Council members so that the city’s 49 percent Latino population is better represented, or face a lawsuit that will force the issue, the council was told Wednesday night.
”Half of Escondido is Latino,” Demetrio Gomez, a 40-year Escondido resident said during the council meeting’s public comment period. “But in 123 years, Escondido has elected only one obviously Latino candidate to the City Council. There are no representatives from our large Latino neighborhoods, and this council is elected by — and caters to — wealthier non-Latinos.”
Olga Diaz was elected to the council in 2008.
Read the full article here.