A coalition of 13 Asian-American and Latino Lowell residents on Thursday filed a federal voting-rights lawsuit against the city, alleging that Lowell’s municipal election system discriminates against minorities. Plaintiffs say the use of citywide at-large elections for all seats on the City Council and School Committee dilutes the combined electoral strength of minority voters in Lowell, violating the federal Voting Rights Act, as well as the United States Constitution, according to a release from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice (LCCR), a Boston-based private, non-profit, non-partisan legal organization that provides pro bono legal representation to victims of discrimination based on race or national origin.
Lowell is now a majority-minority city. According to 2015 American Community Survey data, 26 percent of the city’s residents are Asian, 20 percent are Latino, and 5 percent are black — a total of 51 percent. Whites make up 46 percent of the population.
All nine members of the City Council and all six members of School Committee are white.
The lack of diversity in both the City Council and School Committee is a direct result of Lowell’s at-large plurality municipal electoral system, according to the 44-page lawsuit. Voting patterns show a predominantly white majority that generally votes as a bloc, which effectively cancels out the votes of Asian-Americans and Latinos, the suit alleges.
Full Article: Minorities sue Lowell over voting rights – Lowell Sun Online.