Civil rights group to speak on legality of county’s at-large elections, Weds Apr 7

By on Tue, March 30, 2010

A representative of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights will appear at the next meeting of the San Mateo County Charter Review Committee. The LCCR won a decision that at-large elections, such as those for the county’s Board of Supervisors, violated the California Voting Rights Act.

The Madera Unified School District case demonstrates that at-large elections can violate voters’ rights:

An injunction in the case is forcing Madera Unified, which is 82% Latino, to change the way it elects its board.

The decision has already begun to reshape school boards, city councils and special districts throughout California. Dozens of jurisdictions have Latino majorities with few, if any, Latino elected officials—the very conditions that led to the ruling that the Madera district’s electoral system had fostered "racially polarized voting" in violation of the California Voting Rights Act.

"I think what we’re looking at is a quiet revolution," said Robert Rubin, an attorney with the San Francisco-based Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, which brought the Madera case. "I think this will sort of usher in the transfer of power from the Anglo community to the Latino community . . . with fair and equitable voting procedures."

The next meeting of the Charter Review Committee will be:

April 7, 2010
5:30 to 7:30pm
San Mateo Main Library, Oak Room
55 West Third Ave.
San Mateo