LANCASTER – The public is invited to hear expert third party analysis on Lancaster’s compliance with the California Voting Rights Act.
The meeting, featuring Voting Rights Act expert Dr. Morgan Kousser, will take place at 12 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, at the City Council Chambers, located at 44933 Fern Avenue, according to a press release from the city of Lancaster. Read it below:
On February 18, the City of Lancaster’s appointed citizen Elections Committee will hear a third party analysis from Voting Rights Act expert, Dr. Morgan Kousser. Dr. Kousser will provide the findings from his study examining the City of Lancaster’s compliance with the California Voting Rights Act.
Voting Rights Act expert Dr. Morgan Kousser boasts an extensive background in voting rights and redistricting law. Dr. Kousser has consulted or testified in twenty-five federal and seven state cases regarding voting rights and redistricting. A graduate of both Yale and Princeton, Dr. Kousser has been an instructor at the California Institute of Technology since 1969. He has also authored several books and numerous scholarly articles and reviews on minority voting rights, race relations, political history, educational discrimination, and quantitative methods.
The study was requested by the City Council, on the recommendation of the City’s Elections Committee, to undertake an examination of Lancaster’s compliance with the California Voting Rights Act. The committee is chaired by local attorney, Steven Derryberry, who is joined by commissioners Ed Galindo, Cassandra Harvey, Darren Parker, and Kitty Szeto.
The meeting will take place on Tuesday, February 18, at noon in the City Council Chambers (44933 Fern Avenue.) The public is welcome to attend.
Lancaster uses at-large elections; however, Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris is the plaintiff’s attorney in a voting-rights lawsuit to prevent the city of Palmdale from using at-large elections. The lawsuit claims Palmdale’s at-large elections result in racially polarized voting, which prevents minorities’ candidates of choice from being elected. In a final statement issued late last year, Judge Mark Mooney found Palmdale in violation of the California Voting Rights Act and ordered the city to hold a district-based election in June. Palmdale is appealing the decision.
Previous related stories:
Palmdale files notice of appeal on voting rights lawsuit
Shenkman/Parris file injunction to halt Palmdale election
5 comments for "Expert to analyze Lancaster’s compliance with Voting Rights Act"
Michael Rives says
Is it too late to put an adivisory measure on the April 8th ballot to solicit the views of Lancaster residents on districting? If not, how about the June primary or November ballot? Even better, submit a proposed districing plan to the voters and see what they think? I think the voters need to be consulted on any future plans rather than the panel of people appointed by Rex Parris and the city council.
Let’s see now….the mayor and his pals move the election from November (normal) to the obscure month of April (strange) and Lancaster then stops using the LA County Voters Registrar and becomes the only city aside from Compton who has an appointed city clerk count the votes. Yes indeed, everything in Lancaster is just fine.
Who would wake up a sleeping giant?
Let me guess..... says
….and I’m sure that the expert will find that the City of Lancaster’s voting patterns are totally fine! Like any good attorney, Lancaster’s Mayor knows that you never ask a question that you don’t already know the answer to…..
RE: Palmdale’s at-large issue.
If the city were divided into districts and if traditionally minority voters have a low turnout, minority voters in a minority district would have a greater weight per vote than a voter in a non-minority district.
Say Candidate X in a minority district wins with a 1,000 total votes in that district compared to Candidate Y in a non-minority district wins in a district with total of 10,000 votes in that district, a minority voter’s vote counts more in the council.
Also, a minority voter in a non-minority district will still not get to vote for a minority candidate he or she might like in the other minority district and quite possibly not have their issues represented by them.
There are a lot more reasons district elections are fraught with unintended consequences.
The commitment should be to increase voter turnout in all areas of the city rather than giving minority voters a greater weight per vote than anyone else based on the relative turnouts of that demographic. That can’t be considered fair.
The law needs to be changed.