The redrawing of district lines in Kern County gives Latino voters an edge in fall’s election

Melissa Puryear, Managing Editor

Kern County Supervisors made a decision to accept the new district lines proposed on March 30t at a closed-session meeting in the morning. By the afternoon the agreement was made official at the Federal Courthouse, which brought to close the settlement phase of a lawsuit brought by Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund MALDEF against the County. The agreement between Supervisors meant that in addition to the revisioning of district lines, a second Latino voting district in Kern County would be added and voters would be able to vote this fall.

What preempted the settlement was MALDEF’s lawsuit which alleged that district lines were drawn in such a way which disadvantaged the Latino voter by preventing them from voting for the representative of their choice. David Ely, a demography expert, testified at the trial and concluded,” that a second majority-Latino supervisorial district in Kern County could have been created in 2011,” according to court documents. Fresno Judge, Dale A. Drozd, agreed.

The March 30th lawsuit settlement redressed that wrong by having the district’s lines redrawn which had shut Latinos out. The new electoral district lines will ensure that constituents in each district will be fairly represented by its incumbent.

According to Mark Nations, Interim County Counsel, District’s 2 and 3 will not participate in June’s primary election but has been cancelled. Instead these districts will accompany District 4 in November’s election. “It will be a plurality-win election.” [A plurality electoral win is where the candidate with the most votes win the election]

New district boundary maps will be posted on the County’s website, according to Nations, where residents can see how the new districts lines define each respective community in Kern County.