(Headline USA) The ACLU, UCLA, and a New York law firm have filed a federal lawsuit that contends the election system used in Dodge City, Kansas, prevents the city’s large Latino population from electing representatives to the city commission.
The lawsuit filed Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups argues the current method allowing citywide votes for all five commissioners is unconstitutional and violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Instead, the cosmopolitan busybodies argue, the southwest Kansas city should be divided into five voting districts.
Nickolaus Hernandez, city manager in Dodge City, said in a statement that the lawsuit does not give a complete picture of the city’s method of at-large commission elections and municipal activities, “as it relates to several other cities of the same size and structure across Kansas.”
The lawsuit claims that no Latino candidate has been elected to the commission since at least 2000.
However, current commissioner Joseph Nuci Jr. said in a statement late Friday afternoon that he is Latino and has twice been elected to the commission.
“The claim and reports that frame Dodge City as not having elected representation of a Latino on the commission are categorically false, they misrepresent our commission, and are merely an attempt to divide our great city,” Nuci said.
The city of 27,000 people about 160 miles (257 kilometers) west of Wichita has been transformed in recent decades by immigrants drawn to work at meatpacking plants in the region.
Latinos now make up nearly 65% of the city’s population and about 46% of the voting age population, according to the 2020 Census.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two Latino residents of Dodge City by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, the national ACLU, the UCLA Voting Rights Project and New York City-based law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton.
The lawsuit asks the court to prevent Dodge City from using its current citywide voting system and instead requiring it implement district-based elections.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press