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Press Release: City of Norco Responds to District Voting Demand Letter

NORCO, CA - On October 2, 2017, the City of Norco was served with a certified letter from a law firm representing the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project. The letter claimed that the City's "at-large" voting system may violate the California Voting Rights Act. The letter further claimed that "at-large" voting results in minority-vote dilution, and requested that the City voluntarily change to a "district" voting system. The letter provided no specific facts to support its position other than the percentage of Latinos in Norco pursuant to the 2010 Census, and the fact that there are no Latino City Council members. The law firm, which has made this demand on and sued numerous cities throughout the State, has apparently done no demographic study to show that "racially polarized voting" exists in Norco, or that "district" voting would increase the likelihood that a Latino candidate would be elected to the City Council.

The City acknowledges and supports the goals of the California Voting Rights Act, but the purpose of the Act would not appear to be served by "district" voting in Norco. Norco's ethnic population is diversified and no area of the community has demonstrated to be primarily Latino. Additionally, as the letter asserts, no Latino candidate has unsuccessfully run for the City Council since 2001, a necessary requirement in order to find a violation of the Act. The City has suggested to the law firm that it would be more productive for the City to conduct an independent study to determine whether Norco's "at large" voting has any impact on Latino voters and whether "district" voting would accomplish the goals of the California Voting Rights Act.

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