An appeals court has upheld a judge’s decision to throw out the results of Palmdale’s Nov. 5 City Council election, saying it disenfranchised Latino and African American voters.
The 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected Palmdale’s argument that being a charter city meant it was not subject to the California Voting Rights Act, which prohibits the dilution of minority votes, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.
“It was lawful for the injunction order to issue and, given the uncontradicted evidence of vote dilution, it was prudent to do so,” the three-judge panel said in its ruling, the newspaper reported.
Palmdale has an at-large system of elections in which voters throughout the city choose from a common pool of candidates. On Nov. 27, Judge Mark Mooney sided with plaintiffs who argued this system prevents Palmdale’s Latino and African American communities from electing their council member of choice.
According to the latest Census, Palmdale is almost 60 percent Latino and 15 percent African American, but only one Latino and one African American have been elected to its council since the 1970s, according to the Daily News.
Mooney also ordered Palmdale divided into four districts—two with a majority Latino population—that would each elect a council member during the June 3 statewide primary.