LOS ANGELES (AP) — Palmdale’s method of electing City Council members by a citywide vote rather than through individual districts is keeping black and Hispanic candidates out of office, a judge has ruled.
The high desert city violates the California Voting Rights Act by using an election format that dilutes the influence of minority voters, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark V. Mooney wrote in his interim decision this week.
In the ruling, Mooney said he didn’t consider voter turnout or the effectiveness of past campaigns, only voting patterns. He pointed out that intent to discriminate is not required to prove a violation.
“Plaintiffs’ evidence established that racially polarized voting occurred in the city council elections for the City of Palmdale,” he wrote.