Tuesday night’s Anaheim City Council meeting will offer another reading of the District votes indicating which of Anaheim’s newly-formed districts will be up for election in 2016 and which will be up in 2018. I don’t expect anything to change.
There will no doubt be a long line of speakers demanding that District 3, the most Latino district, be added for 2016 — a presidential year when Latino voters typically come out in force only in the November election. The June 2012 primary is direct evidence of this as Tom Daly’s vote total surpassed all Latino Democratic opponents for AD-69 combined. If the council majority sticks to its earlier vote, and I’ve seen no indication that this will change, a lawsuit is possible from MALDEF and the California League of United Latin American Citizens using the argument that delaying the election in the only district designed to provide a voting rights remedy to Latino voters puts the city at risk for liability under the federal Voting Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Our understanding is that neither state of federal law allows race to be the sole reason for selecting districts for which one gets to vote first.
During a chat with Dr. Jose Moreno at the DPOC meeting last week, I asked why don’t Latino voters come out for primary elections or special elections because the Democratic Party needs these votes in every election. His explanation is that those who don’t vote are typically younger people, renters and voters who are poor. Candidates target highly-probability voters and don’t do enough to get eligible non-voters to the polls. And he correctly pointed out, Democrats as a whole need to be better about voting in off year elections and special elections. We agreed this needs to change. It’s not like Anaheim makes it hard to vote; early voting stations are up at city hall well before election day. But how to do it? No one has an easy answer.
For the coming elections, it is completely possible that Anaheim voters can send not one but three Latinos to the city council by 2018. If Anaheim Latino voters are so outraged by Council member Jordan Brandman’s deciding vote against District 3, they have an opportunity to make their voices heard in the June 2016 primary for Congress. But this will require them voting in June.
If District 3 has to wait until 2018, isn’t the goal of electing a Latino council member enough of a trigger to get Latino voters to the Polls in an off-year election? A Democratic Congressional representative elected in CD-46 in 2016 clearly needs these to ward off a serious Republican challenge.
Regardless of race, age, or political party, voters who don’t take the time to vote get the government they deserve.