FEDERAL TRIAL BEGINS OVER VOTING RIGHTS IN PASADENA, TEXAS
November 16, 2016
HOUSTON, TX - - A federal court trial begins Thursday in a closely watched lawsuit that alleges voting discrimination against Latinos in Pasadena, Texas.
The suit, filed by MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) on behalf of local voters, challenges redistricting changes made after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County v. Holder.
At issue is Pasadena’s decision to eliminate two of the city’s eight neighborhood-based voting districts and replace them with two seats elected by the city as a whole. The lawsuit alleges the new at-large seats dilute Latino voting strength in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act.
Pasadena's Latino registered voters have grown rapidly in recent years, increasing to 42% in 2016, according to the U.S. Census American Community Survey.
The current hybrid system, however, reduces Latino voting strength and impedes Latino voters' ability to elect their candidates of choice and have a voice in how their city is governed, according to the lawsuit.
In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a provision of the federal Voting Rights Act that would likely have blocked Pasadena's change in its election system. As a result, MALDEF's Pasadena lawsuit is focused on violations of the general prohibitions against voting discrimination contained in section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the claim that Pasadena's new election system intentionally discriminates against Latinos on the basis of race.
Find the complaint HERE
Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit: www.maldef.org.