Former Poway mayor Don Higginson has sued the State of California and the City of Poway, challenging the constitutionality of the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 (CVRA).
Under the CVRA, cities like Poway have been intimidated by left-wing activists into changing their elections from the at-large model, in which all council members are voted on by everyone, to a district model where each council member only represents one area.
The In Southern California, for example, Malibu attorney Kevin Shenkman has bullied several towns into changing their election systems after winning expensive lawsuits against the few that resisted. In the process, critics argue, he and the other attorneys who have made CVRA lawsuits into a lucrative enterprise have amplified racial divisions in small communities, drained public coffers, and diminished the responsiveness of local governments to residents. Most of the targets have been conservative communities, but Shenkman is suing liberal Santa Monica as well.
But the CVRA may not be constitutional, especially under new interpretations of the federal Voting Rights Act, which have stressed the need to show actual evidence of racial discrimination. Higginson is being represented by a Virginia-based non-profit legal foundation, the Project on Fair Representation (POFR). In its complaint, POFR argues that the CVRA is unconstitutional because of its emphasis on race in the drawing of new local districts.
POFR president Edward Blum said: “The California Voting Rights Act forces jurisdictions to make race the sole factor in districting. It splits apart multi-ethnic, multi-racial neighborhoods in order to create gerrymandered voting districts. This is bad for all citizens, regardless of their race or ethnicity. … This law is clearly unconstitutional.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.Let's (Why?)