Washington, Nov 5 – The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) filed a federal lawsuit on Monday against the Houston (Texas) Council election system, considering that it “dilutes” the vote of the Latino community.
The oldest Hispanic group in the country considers that electoral process is illegal and does not reflect the diversity of the fourth largest metropolitan area in the country, with almost 2.4 million inhabitants.
Voters elect eleven councilors who represent each of Houston’s districts, and five more called “at large,” that is, they represent the city as a whole.
Specifically, the lawsuit calls for the suspension of the elections of the five “at large.”
This is a method that “dilutes the strength of the Hispanic community’s vote,” LULAC claims in the lawsuit.
Latinos are 44.5% of the city’s population, but they have only one Hispanic among the 16 councilors who control a budget of 5.7 billion dollars a year, lamented Domingo García, president of the organization.
“LULAC and Houstonians say enough is enough after enduring a rigged system in which donations are more important than voters,” he added.
LULAC’s fight, according to Garcia, “is against an antiquated process that denies Latinos and other taxpayers and their families a legitimate participation in the decision about services, resources, jobs and investments that the city makes.”
In its lawsuit, filed in the Federal Court for the Southern District of Texas, the organization asks for guarantees for more than a million Latinos in “fair and fair elections.”
“Houston is the only major city in Texas that lacks 100 percent district representation,” explained Iván Sánchez, who is one of the plaintiffs.
“LULAC believes that it is necessary to politically modernize Houston along with other Texan communities,” he said.
Other cities such as San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and El Paso have city councils in which each mayor represents a district, and “they have abolished the at-large offices because they are discriminatory.” Sanchez noted.
The lawsuit document states that “only two Hispanic candidates have been elected to all of the city in the history of Houston.”
“At the same time, Latinos are a plurality or near majority in the total population of Houston,” he says.
Sergio Lira, who chairs the LULAC team for electoral districting in Houston, reiterated that “at-large” elections “have demographically diluted the strength of the Latino vote.”
“We need more equitable representation at a time when Latinos are building Houston with our work, and our businesses inject millions of dollars in taxes,” added Lira.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.