As a first-generation Hispanic-American of Dominican and Spanish descent and a member of a “protected class” under the Elections Code, Section 14026(d), with more than 20 years of residency in the Canyon Country community that would become part of the racially and politically segregated District 1, I firmly denounce the city’s attempt to disenfranchise me and other minority voters.
As a Republican, I believe in the principles of fairness and equality, and I strongly oppose the city of Santa Clarita’s move toward racially and politically segregated district voting. This discriminatory change is a threat to our democratic values and must not be allowed to take place.
For the past 35 years, the city of Santa Clarita has been a shining example of a city with free and fair elections. For years, the city held at-large elections where all residents could vote for any candidate regardless of where they lived. This resulted in a diverse City Council that included Hispanic/Latino members who were elected by the people of the city, not by a specific racial or political group.
However, this is about to change as the city of Santa Clarita is being forced into racially biased and politically biased segregated voting districts by a lawsuit filed by plaintiffs Michael Cruz, Sebastian Cazares, and their attorney, who coincidentally are all progressive Democrats.
The lawsuit argues that the creation of racially biased voting districts is necessary to provide Hispanic/Latino residents with a majority district. However, this argument is flawed. Hispanics/Latinos already live throughout the entirety of the city and have been able to win elections in our at-large voting systems. The creation of racially biased voting districts is not only unnecessary, but it is also unconstitutional and violates the principles of democracy.
The use of racially biased voting districts is unconstitutional and violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The Supreme Court has held that racial gerrymandering, the intentional manipulation of voting districts based on race, is unconstitutional. In the city of Santa Clarita’s case, the creation of a Hispanic/Latino majority district based solely on race constitutes racial gerrymandering and violates the Equal Protection Clause.
The Supreme Court has established clear standards for redistricting decisions. In Shaw v. Reno, the Supreme Court held that racial gerrymandering, the intentional manipulation of voting districts based on race, is unconstitutional. The court found that the creation of voting districts based solely on race violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
In Bartlett v. Strickland, the Supreme Court held that the use of race as a predominant factor in redistricting decisions was constitutional only when it was necessary to comply with the Voting Rights Act. The court found that the use of race as a predominant factor in redistricting decisions without a compelling reason was unconstitutional.
In Thornburg v. Gingles, the Supreme Court established the standard for determining whether a voting district violates the Voting Rights Act. The court held that a voting district violates the Voting Rights Act if it is designed in a way that dilutes the voting strength of minority communities.
The creation of racially and politically biased voting districts by the city of Santa Clarita violates all of these standards.
The Shaw v. Reno decision unequivocally established that the use of race as the predominant factor in redistricting is unconstitutional and violates the fundamental principle of equal protection under the law.
As a result, at-large voting systems have been recognized as a more equitable means of ensuring that all communities, including minority communities, have an equal voice in our democracy. By eliminating the need for racially based voting districts, we can ensure that our political process is fair, transparent, and equitable for all. Through promoting fair and transparent electoral processes, we can guarantee that all Americans are represented and have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives, thus ensuring the preservation of our democratic ideals.
The city of Santa Clarita should not be forced into implementing racially biased and politically biased voting districts. Instead, the city should continue to hold at-large elections that allow all residents to vote for any candidate regardless of where they live. This will ensure that all residents have a fair and equal opportunity to participate in the democratic process and elect candidates of their choice.
In conclusion, the city of Santa Clarita’s implementation of racially biased and politically biased voting districts is unnecessary, unconstitutional, and undermines the very principles of democracy. Our city should remain or revert to at-large elections to ensure free and fair elections and provide all residents with an equal opportunity to participate in the democratic process.