Garden Grove faces voting-rights lawsuit

Garden Grove is the latest target for activists seeking to replace the citywide election system with district representation.

Activists say the city’s election system violates the voting rights act, and they are threatening to file a lawsuit unless the city changes its election procedures.

“It could be tomorrow, it could be 30 days or 60 days,” said Art Montez, an official with the Orange County chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, referring to a possible lawsuit in an interview with the Orange County Register. “But that bullet is coming. You can’t hold democracy back.”

“The City Council on Tuesday evening discussed the possibility of changing from an at-large election system to one that breaks Garden Grove into districts, allowing each geographic area to select its own representative,” the paper reports.

Latino activists have targeted at-large elections around the state, claiming such at-large elections violate federal voting rules. As the Latino population rises across California, district elections encourage and promote more ethnic representation on school boards, city councils and county boards of supervisors.

Cities and school boards in other Southern California communities threatened with similar types of lawsuits have taken steps to adopt districts.