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MALDEF Wins Voting Rights Suit Against Kern County

Joe Moore
Valley Public Radio
Kern County Government Center in Bakersfield

A federal judge has ruled in favor of a Latino civil rights group in a lawsuit against Kern County over voting rights. The ruling found county supervisorial districts that were created in 2011 violated the Voting Rights Act because they intentionally divided Latino communities between two districts.

The decision is a win for the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, which sued to implement new district lines, where the county would gain a second majority-Latino district. Currently District 5, represented by supervisor Leticia Perez is the only Latino-majority district in the county. MALDEF argued that communities like Delano and McFarland should be in the same district as Arvin. Now it will up to U.S. District Court Judge Dale A. Drozd to work with both sides to draw up new district maps.