RIVERSIDE COUNTY NEEDS TWO LATINO MAJORITY DISTRICTS TO COMPLY WITH FEDERAL LAW, ACCORDING TO NEW UCLA REPORT
The UCLA Voting Rights Project says that failure to draw two Latino-majority districts will put the county at risk of future voting rights litigation.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors must adopt a redistricting plan that has two Latino-majority districts as part of its 2021 redistricting process in order to be in compliance with federal voting rights laws, according to a report issued today by the UCLA Voting Rights Project (UCLA VRP).
The Latino community represents almost 50% of the county, while the white population decreased to 32.6% according to the 2020 Census. Current map proposals created by county staff diminish the Latino vote and that of other communities of color, making it harder for those populations to elect their candidates of choice. The report, submitted to the County Board of Supervisors, flagged that proposed maps F and H are especially egregious in making the county potentially liable for future voting rights litigation by splitting the Latino population into several districts, thus diluting their vote.
“Latinos have driven Riverside County’s growth and it is imperative that the county does not dilute or in any way weaken the ability of Latino voters to meaningfully exercise the right to choose candidates that represent their community’s needs,” said Sonni Waknin, UCLA VRP managing attorney and voting rights counsel.
The federal Voting Rights Act requires that racial, ethnic, and language minority groups are able to elect candidates of choice and requires redistricting efforts to make that possible.
The voting rights advocacy think-tank is providing guidance for counties across California to ensure full compliance with the Voting Rights Act in the face of rapid demographic changes over the past ten years. Other counties under review by UCLA VRP include Yolo, Orange and Stanislaus County.
The UCLA Voting Rights Project is an advocacy project housed within the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative.
ABOUT THE UCLA LATINO POLICY AND POLITICS INITIATIVE
The UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative addresses the most critical domestic policy challenges facing Latinos and other communities of color through research, advocacy, mobilization, and leadership development to expand genuine opportunity for all Americans.
ABOUT THE UCLA VOTING RIGHTS PROJECT
The UCLA Voting Rights Project (VRP) is the marquee advocacy project of the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative (LPPI) at the University of California, Los Angeles and is focused on voting rights litigation, research, policy, and training. The UCLA Voting Rights Project addresses monumental and overlooked gaps in the field of voting rights: how to train young lawyers and researchers, support the development of new legal and methodological theories for voting rights cases, and how to advance policy work to ensure that there is a new generation of leaders who are pursuing efforts to guarantee all citizens have equal and fair access to our democracy. The project was founded by Chad W. Dunn, J.D. and Matt Barreto, Ph.D. The UCLA Voting Rights Project is located within the Luskin School of Public Affairs.
To learn more about the UCLA Voting Rights Project, please visit https://latino.ucla.edu/votingrights.