Palmdale's city election in November cannot go forward, a judge ruled today.
A statement from the plaintiff's legal firm said the election was blocked because the municipality has failed to comply with the California Voting Rights Act: The plaintiff argues that the town's at-large election structure deprives Latinos and African Americans of fair representation:
The voting system means that council people are elected citywide instead of in smaller districts that could allow, for example, African Americans to elect a neighborhood leader who is black.
In the at-large system, the whole town gets to vote on each council member, increasing the possibility that a white majority could shut out any minority candidates.
The plaintiff, voter Juan Jauregui, was supported by attorney R. Rex Parris, the mayor of the neighboring city of Lancaster. (The two cities have long had beefs).
In a rare move, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge not only sided with Jauregui over the summer, but today said the election can't go on as-is.
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For far too long already, the African American and Latino citizens of Palmdale have been disenfranchised. No longer should they be forced to wait for their rights while the city thumbs its nose at the law.
Jarequi's complaint was first filed in April, 2012.