by Chris Nichols / North County Times / July 31, 2011
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday [August 2, 2011] is expected to redraw its political boundaries —- and when it does, critics say, it will violate federal law.
The law in question is the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Civil rights activists say the redistricting map favored by the board, which consists of five white Republicans who have served together since the mid-1990s, violates the law by ignoring the county’s growing Latino population and further diluting minority voting power.
Citing the Voting Rights Act, they say the board must create a “minority-majority” district to provide Latino and black candidates with a stronger chance at election.
They say the two necessary conditions for such a district are satisfied: One, there is a politically like-minded group of minorities (Latinos and blacks) in a compact area (the South County). And two, the county has a history of “racially polarized” voting in which white voters have voted together to defeat minority-favored candidates.
Only one person of color, Leon Williams, has ever been elected (in 1982) to the Board of Supervisors. Just five minorities —- four Latinos and one black —- have run for the board over the past 20 years, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
The county’s overall population is 32 percent Latino and 48.5 percent non-Latino white, according to the 2010 Census.
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