Santa Clara’s City Council may be playing a dangerous game of chicken with civil rights lawyers and lawsuits. That’s because they’ve decided to not change how they are elected based upon racial evidence.

Currently, Santa Clara elections allow any resident to run for office in any district – and receive votes from residents in every district. In the eyes of civil rights groups, the unusual election practices has disenfranchised ethnic voters and has kept the council all-white, despite Caucasians comprising just 36% of the population.

For some who voted against the idea, it wasn’t a racial issue. It was an issue of logistics. Adding the measure to the June Ballot could cost $155,000.

But the city will remain vulnerable to lawsuits and future city councils could change their minds to place the issue on the ballot by the 2014 election cycle.

From the Mercury News:

Rejecting the advice from community and civil rights groups, the all-white Santa Clara City Council on Tuesday shot down a proposed race-driven change to the way voters elect their council members.

By a 4-2 vote, the council decided against a June ballot measure that would have asked voters to change the extremely unusual election process to a much more common one.

Read the full article here.