Papers were filed yesterday in Los Angeles County Superior Court suing the City of Carson over alleged violations of the California Voting Rights Act.
The City has been under legal threat for over a year by the Southwest Voter Education Project and an attorney who has sued dozens of other cities in California. As the City has debated District elections over the past several months it appeared to be ready to move forward with Districts at an upcoming Council meeting. However, in a Special Meeting earlier this week, the Council moved to sideline its existing Demographics expert, a move that prompted the lawsuit filed yesterday.
In the legal filing, attorneys for Southwest Voter state that the process has "gone off the rails," and claim "the Carson City Council voted to essentially terminate the services of the demographer assisting the City of Carson to develop and consider district maps, and hire another demographer known to draw unlawful district maps repeatedly criticized by the courts of this State, undoubtedly delaying the adoption of district elections and casting doubt over whether Defendant will ever adopt district elections without a court compelling it to do so."
No California city has successfully fought a Voting Rights Act lawsuit, and those that have gone to court have lost millions of dollars in legal fees. In one case, the City of Palmdale was forced to pay $4 million in legal costs to the very people that sued them over the issue. Changes were made to state law specifically to give cities more time if they were found to be in potential violation, it would appear Carson may have run beyond that grace period.
CAT will be hosting a Free Community Workshop on Saturday, Sept. 14 to review the currently proposed maps for Carson and update on the process. Please RSVP to attend