The City of Fullerton is the most recent in a long string of municipal governments to come under fire for violating the California Voting Rights Act. The ACLU Foundation of Southern California and Asian Americans Advancing Justice, LA have filed suit against the City of Fullerton alleging the city’s at-large voting system alienates large blocks of the community, especially Asian Americans.
“Almost one in four eligible voters in Fullerton is Asian American, yet despite their sizable numbers, no Asian American currently serves on the City Council,” says Danna Kitamura, senior staff attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA. The suit urges city leaders to take steps to rectify the issue by taking steps to establish a city council districts.
The California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) outlines the standard for municipal representation by prohibiting city governments from imposing at-large elections that deny minority communities the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice or influence the outcome of elections.
In November 2014, voters in the City of Anaheim overwhelmingly adopted a measure to establish districted elections after a suit was filed against the city on behalf of underrepresented Latino voters. Similarly, in 2013, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge found the City of Palmdale to be in violation of the CVRA, and ordered the city to hold districted elections for all council seats.
Voters in the City of Glendale will decide this spring whether the city will adopt a districted election system.
To read more on the suits filed against the City of Fullerton, click here.