In a declaration that may force Santa Clara to deal with long-standing complaints about equal representation on the City Council, a judge on Tuesday said the city’s current election system isn’t fair to minority voters. Superior Court Judge Thomas Kuhnle leaned in favor of the group of Asian Americans who sued Santa Clara last year claiming the city’s at-large election system discriminates against Asian Americans by diluting their vote. “Based on the evidence presented at trial, the court finds that plaintiffs have proven by a preponderance of the evidence that the at-large method of election used by the city impairs the ability of Asians to elect candidates as a result of the dilution and abridgment of their rights as voters,” wrote Kuhnle in a proposed statement of decision Tuesday. “Having found the City liable for violating the [California Voting Rights Act], this action will now proceed to the remedies phase.”
The decision is not final, meaning both sides can try to convince him to change his mind.
Since the city charter was adopted in 1951, not a single Asian American candidate has won a seat on the City Council even though Asian Americans make up more than 30 percent of the city’s eligible voters.
“The judge has some complex statistical analysis to weed through but ultimately this was a case about people, about a community and its ability to affect decisions that directly impact their daily lives,” said Robert Rubin, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.
Full Article: Santa Clara’s current voting system isn’t fair, judge says.