A former Fullerton City Council candidate is suing the city, alleging its at-large system of electing council members violates the California Voting Rights Act of 2001. The law is designed to make it easier for ethnic minorities to elect their preferred candidates by encouraging district elections to replace at-large elections. The suit filed by Vivian Jaramillo, 60, alleges that Fullerton’s at-large voting “impairs the ability of certain races to elect candidates of their choice or influence the outcome of elections conducted in the city of Fullerton.” Jaramillo, a retired code-enforcement officer, was unsuccessful in bids for the City Council in 2010 and 2006. Jaramillo’s attorney was not available for comment Wednesday.
Under Fullerton’s at-large system, voters anywhere in the city can vote for any council candidate. In district-based elections, a city is divided into subdivisions. A candidate must be elected by voters who live in the same subdivision.
Jaramillo’s lawsuit also points out that voting trends in the city are in contrast to those in the state.
“We have not seen this topic brought up in several years,” Fullerton City Manager Joe Felz said. “We are scheduling to give the council a briefing on it.”