A week ago a California Voting Rights Acts (CVRA) lawsuit against the City of Santa Clara was dismissed on a technicality; namely it was impossible for the parties bringing the suit to comply with changes to the CVRA prior to the new law (AB 350) taking effect Jan. 1, 2017.
However, the City’s possible liability is unchanged because a new CVRA lawsuit was filed on Nov. 30. That case, Ladonna Yumori-Kaku vs. City of Santa Clara, states the same grounds for complaint as the first lawsuit.
It also alleges that Santa Clara’s proposed two multi-member election districts and ranked choice transferrable vote method for counting ballots is a “nominal change” that doesn’t remedy the violation, and will instead, ensure “that the City’s elections will continue to disenfranchise Asian-American voters in Santa Clara.”
The plaintiff’s attorney notified the City in August and again in October “that its at-large election system violates the CVRA, and its proposal is an at-large system. When the City still refused to take action, Plaintiff was forced to file this complaint to seek relief under the CVRA.” This satisfies the 45-day notice requirements imposed by AB 350.
Civil rights attorney Robert Rubin, an attorney on this case as well as the previous one, has said that his research has shown that single-member geographic election districts can be drawn that would reflect the City’s demographics and offer a fair opportunity for minority candidates to be elected.
Read our previous coverage of this issue