Attorneys for the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund say recent changes to the voting map in Pasadena violate the civil rights of Hispanic voters there. Five residents have joined in a federal lawsuit, asking Pasadena to restore its previous voting map.
For 41 years, Alberto Patiño has lived in Pasadena and seen a lot of changes there.
Now Hispanics like him make up more than 60 percent of residents and about 40 percent of eligible voters.
Patiño wants that reflected on city council.
“I feel that we should have more representation on City Council that we don’t have and I don’t think it’s fair.”
Patiño is one of five plaintiffs in a new federal lawsuit against Pasadena and its voting districts.
The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund is representing the plaintiffs.
Attorney Nina Perales says Pasadena changed its voting districts just as Hispanics were about to elect a majority of the city council members.
She says those changes are unconstitutional and discriminate against Hispanics.
“But it is also part of the fall-out from the Supreme Court decision last year in 2013, lifting federal supervision of voting and elections from Texas and its sub-jurisdictions,” Perales says.
Before, Pasadena had eight voting districts which elected members to City Council.
Then last year, it changed to six district positions and two at-large positions.
The lawsuit claims that change dilutes the electoral power of all Hispanics in Pasadena. They’re asking the federal court to restore the previous voting system.
A spokesman for the city of Pasadena declined to comment on the lawsuit.