Two civil rights groups sued the city of Fullerton on Wednesday, saying the college town’s at-large voting system shuts out Asian Americans. In their lawsuit, the ACLU Foundation of Southern California and Asian Americans Advancing Justice — L.A. allege Fullerton’s system for electing council members violates the California Voting Rights Act and blocks large segments of the community — especially Asian Americans — from having a voice in city government. “Almost one in four eligible voters in Fullerton is Asian American, yet despite their sizable numbers, no Asian American currently serves on the City Council,” said Deanna Kitamura, senior staff attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice — L.A.
She said Asian American candidates who enjoy support from the city’s Asian community have consistently been defeated under the current at-large voting system. Fullerton, a city of nearly 140,000 people, is nearly 23% Asian.
The lawsuit is similar to challenges in other Southern California cities that have become increasingly diverse yet continue to have at-large voting for City Council races.
The suit asks Fullerton to take steps toward creating council districts. Sandra Hernandez, ACLU SoCal’s spokeswoman, said her group looked at what happened in Anaheim before filing suit.