TRIAL TO BEGIN IN LAWSUIT ALLEGING KERN COUNTY DENIES LATINO VOTING RIGHTS

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(Fresno, CA) - A lawsuit filed by MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) alleging that Kern County, California has failed to comply with the federal Voting Rights Act goes to trial in federal court on December 5.



The lawsuit, filed in April 2016 on behalf of four Latino residents, argues that a redistricting plan adopted in 2011 by the Kern County Board of Supervisors unlawfully denies Latinos the right to elect candidates of their choice, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. While Latinos comprise nearly half of Kern County’s population, the boundaries of the five supervisorial districts include only one Latino majority district. The boundaries of two other districts were drawn to split a compact Latino community and dilute voters’ ability to participate effectively in the political process.



Who: Denise Hulett, National Senior Counsel, MALDEF Tanya Pellegrini, Staff Attorney, MALDEF Julia Gomez, Staff Attorney, MALDEF



When: Dec. 5, 2017, at 1 p.m.



Where: Judge Dale A. Drozd, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California Robert E. Coyle United States Courthouse, Courtroom 5, 7th Floor 2500 Tulare Street Fresno, CA 93721



What: Hearing in Oscar Luna, Alicia Puentes, Dorothy Velasquez, and Gary Rodriguez v. County of Kern, Kern County Board of Supervisors



Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit: www.maldef.org.

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