The state Supreme Court has agreed to review an appellate court’s ruling that Santa Monica did not violate the California Voting Rights Act with its at-large voting system.
The high court also ordered that the 2nd District Court of Appeal’s opinion be de-published, meaning it is being removed from the official record and cannot be cited by lawyers.
In 2018, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Pico Neighborhood Association and against Santa Monica in a lawsuit in which the plaintiffs sought to bring greater representation to Santa Monica’s minority Latino population.
The judge’s ruling was overturned by the appellate court.
Plaintiff’s attorney R. Rex Parris argued that Santa Monica’s minority voters were effectively silenced by the city’s at-large election system in violation of the equal protection clause of the state constitution.
“The fight for justice is an ongoing battle and we’re grateful the highest court in California has deemed this matter important enough to consider overturning the Court of Appeals’ decision,” Parris said.
“At a time when Americans throughout the country are fighting for voter rights, we have our own battle on that very issue right here in Southern California.”’
During trial, Parris argued that a lack of proper representation by Santa Monica’s minority population in the Pico neighborhood has left the area disenfranchised and burdened with issues such as trash and construction .
The plaintiffs also alleged Santa Monica’s at-large system violates the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 and is the result of intentional discrimination against the city’s ethnic minority residents since 1946.
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