Two Latinas sued the city of Compton, California claiming the city violated their voting rights. The city elects members to the city council on an “at-large” basis. This means the entire population of the city chooses all the members of the council.
For a long time Compton was largely black-American. Recently, Latinos have become the majority of the population. However, Latinos are a minority of eligible voters.
The lawsuit wants to replace at-large elections with district elections. They also want at least one district in which Latinos are the majority of the voters.
The city agreed to settle the case.
Under the city charter, the question of changing to district elections will be on the ballot in the June 2012 primary election. If it fails, it will be on the November 2012 ballot. If it passes, the plaintiffs will have the right to review new district lines.
The city defended the current election system. However, it agreed that the new system would increase voter participation. In recent elections less than 10 percent of the registered voters cast a ballot.
All parties are pleased with the outcome.