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ACLU files lawsuit against Riverside County’s redistricting map on behalf of Latino voters

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A number of Latino voters are challenging Riverside County’s 2021 supervisorial district map.

A local advocacy group, Inland Empire United, and six Riverside county residents are being represented by the ACLU in a a lawsuit against Riverside County due to the redistricting map that they deem unfair to Latino voters.

They say that the map would have discriminatory effects that would weaken the impact of Latino voters in the area. According to census data, Latinos make up nearly half of all residents in Riverside County and roughly two-fifths of the voting population

"Despite considerable growth in the Latino population in the last few decades, there has only been one Latino supervisor on the county board in its 129-year history," reads a news release by Inland Empire United.

Lack of representation within the board is one of the main reasons why advocacy groups like Inland Empire United believe that the 2021 map does not accurately represent Latino voters in the county. 

“For months, Riverside residents demanded the county to do the right thing and adopt maps that would lead to equitable and fair representation. Instead, the supervisors ignored the community and adopted maps that would ensure they had easier reelections,” said Michael Gomez Daly, executive director of Inland Empire United.  

In Inland Empire United’s filing, they note that the 2021 plan only includes one community where Latinos make up the majority of voters and unnecessarily divides cohesive Latino voting communities within the county among three districts. 

In addition to filing a challenge to the Riverside County board’s 2021 map, Inland Empire United also proposed alternative maps that would keep their communities whole. 

The group says that a fair and equitable map should keep communities of similar voting interests, such as Jurupa Valley, Northwest Riverside, Moreno Valley, and Perris, together by including two Latino-majority voting districts. 

The filing against the map by Inland Empire United and backed by the ACLU Foundation of Southern California calls for the board to rescind the plan to comply with the FAIR MAPS act. 

Riverside County has rebutted claims that its plan does not comply with voting laws, saying in a statement:

Riverside County has rebutted claims that its plan does not comply with voting laws, saying in a statement:

The county has not yet received this lawsuit, and will thoroughly review the matter once received.
Through rigorous statistical analyses by well-respected experts and consultants, the county ensured that all voters have a meaningful opportunity to elect the candidates of their choice. The county followed a rigorous method analyzing citizen voting age population data, racially polarized voting analysis and an opportunity to elect report, in addition to holding many community meetings and public hearings to ensure that residents have fair and equal representation.
The new supervisorial map is fully compliant with the Federal Voting Rights Act and the California Fair Maps Act. The new supervisorial map has at least two effective Latino opportunity-to-elect districts.

Brooke Federico, County of Riverside

“There is no legitimate justification for drawing a map that unnecessarily splits up Latino communities deeply impacted by county policies and that denies them the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice,” said Julia Gomez, staff attorney with the ACLU Foundation of Southern California.

Tatum Larsen

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