AB 182, as amended, Alejo. California Voting Rights Act of 2001.
Existing law, the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 (CVRA), prohibits the use of an at-large election in a political subdivision if it would impair the ability of a protected class, as defined, to elect candidates of its choice or otherwise influence the outcome of an election. The CVRA provides that a voter who is a member of a protected class may bring an action in superior court to enforce the provisions of the CVRA, and, if the voter prevails in the case, he or she may be awarded reasonable litigation costs and attorney’s fees. The CVRA requires a court to implement appropriate remedies, including the imposition of district-based elections, that are tailored to remedy a violation of the act.
This bill would
begin delete provide parallel provisions that prohibitend delete the use of a district-based election in a political subdivision if it would impair the ability of a protected class, as defined, to elect candidates of its choice begin delete or otherwise influence the outcome of an electionend delete. The bill would require a court to implement specified remedies upon a finding that a district-based election was imposed or applied in a manner that impaired the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its begin delete choice or otherwise influence the outcome of an election.end delete
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no. State-mandated local program: no.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
The Legislature finds and declares that the
2purpose of this act is to address ongoing vote dilution and
3discrimination in voting as matters of statewide concern, in order
4to enforce the fundamental rights guaranteed to California voters
5under Section 7 of Article I and Section 2 of Article II of the
6California Constitution. Therefore, the provisions of this act shall
7be construed liberally in furtherance of this legislative intent to
8eliminate minority vote dilution. It is the further intent of the
9Legislature that any remedy implemented under this act shall
10comply with the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The heading of Article 1 (commencing with Section
1214025) is added to Chapter 1.5 of Division 14 of the Elections
13Code, to read:
The heading of Article 2 (commencing with Section
1814027) is added to Chapter 1.5 of Division 14 of the Elections
19Code, to read:
Article 3 (commencing with Section 14040) is added
24to Chapter 1.5 of Division 14 of the Elections Code, to read:
District-based elections shall not be imposed or applied
29in a manner that impairs the ability of a protected class to elect
30candidates of its choice
begin delete, or its ability to influence the outcome of as a result of the dilution or the abridgment of the
P3 1an election,end delete
2rights of voters who are members of a protected class.
(a) A violation of Section 14040 is established if it is
4shown that racially polarized voting occurs in elections for
5members of the governing body of the political subdivision or in
6elections incorporating other electoral choices by the voters of the
7political subdivision. Elections conducted prior to the filing of an
8action pursuant to Section 14040 and this section are more
9probative to establish the existence of racially polarized voting
10than elections conducted after the filing of the action.
11(b) The occurrence of racially polarized voting shall be
12determined from examining results of elections in which at least
13one candidate is a member of a protected class or elections
14involving ballot measures, or other electoral choices that affect
15the rights and privileges of members of a protected class. One
16circumstance that may be considered in determining a violation
17of Section 14040 and this section is the extent to which candidates
18who are members of a protected class and who are preferred by
19voters of the protected class, as determined by an analysis of voting
20behavior, have been elected to the governing body of a political
21subdivision that is the subject of an action based on Section 14040
22and this section.
23(c) The fact that members of a protected class are not
24geographically compact or concentrated does not preclude a finding
25of racially polarized voting, or a violation of Section 14040 and
26this section, but may be a factor in determining an appropriate
28(d) Proof of an intent on the part of the voters or elected officials
29to discriminate against a protected class is not required.
30(e) Other factors such as the history of discrimination, the use
31of electoral devices or other voting practices or procedures that
32may enhance the dilutive effects of the election system, denial of
33access to those processes determining which groups of candidates
34will receive financial or other support in a given election, the extent
35to which members of a protected class bear the effects of past
36discrimination in areas such as education, employment, and health,
37which hinder their ability to participate effectively in the political
38process, and the use of overt or subtle racial appeals in political
39campaigns are probative, but not necessary factors, to establish a
40violation of Section 14040 and this section.
P4 1(f) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the fact that a
2district-based election was imposed on the political subdivision
3as a result of an action filed pursuant to Article 2 shall not be a
4defense to an action alleging a violation of this article.
5(2) (A) If a court orders a political subdivision to adopt, and
6subsequently approves, a district-based election system as a result
7of an action filed pursuant to Article 2, there shall be a rebuttable
8presumption in any subsequent action filed pursuant to this article
9that the district-based election system of that political subdivision
10does not violate this article. The presumption shall apply only to
11the exact district-based election system that was approved by the
12court and shall not apply if the boundaries of the districts of the
13political subdivision are subsequently adjusted for any reason.
14(B) This paragraph shall apply only to a district-based election
15system that is approved by a court on or after January 1, 2016.
(a) Upon a finding of a violation of
begin delete Sectionend delete
17 14040 and
begin delete Sectionend delete 14041, the court shall implement begin delete appropriate
18remedies, as provided in this section, that are tailored to remedy
19the violation and that are guided in part by the views of the
20protected class.end delete
23(b) (1) The court shall implement, as an appropriate remedy
24under this section, an effective district-based elections system that
25provides the protected class the opportunity to elect candidates of
26its choice from single-member districts.
27(2) If additional effective districts under paragraph (1) are not
28possible, the court shall implement, as an appropriate remedy under
29this section, a
36 single-member district-based election system
37that provides the protected class the opportunity to join in a
38coalition of two or more protected classes to elect candidates of
P5 1(3) In addition to implementing district-based elections under
2this subdivision, a court may implement additional remedies,
3including the remedies provided in subdivision (c).
4(c) If the remedies under subdivision (b) are not legally viable,
5the court shall implement other appropriate remedies, including,
6but not limited to, increasing the size of the governing body; issuing
7an injunction to delay an election; or requiring an election
8 to be held on the
9same day as a statewide election, as provided in Section 1001.
In any action to enforce
begin delete Sectionend delete 14040 and
begin delete Sectionend delete 14041, the court shall allow the prevailing plaintiff party,
13other than the state or political subdivision thereof, a reasonable
14attorney’s fee consistent with the standards established in Serrano
15v. Priest (1977) 20 Cal.3d 25, 48-49, and litigation expenses
16including, but not limited to, expert witness fees and expenses as
17part of the costs. Prevailing defendant parties shall not recover any
18costs, unless the court finds the action to be frivolous,
19unreasonable, or without foundation.
Any voter who is a member of a protected class and
21who resides in a political subdivision where a violation of Sections
2214040 and 14041 is alleged may file an action pursuant to those
23sections in the superior court of the county in which the political
24subdivision is located.
If any provision of this article or its application to any
26person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the article
27or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances
28shall not be affected.