Judge: Irving Violated Voting Rights Act

A federal judge has found Irving violated the Voting Rights Act by diminishing the voting power of a growing minority population with its city election system.

The ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Jorge A. Solis prevents the city of Irving from using the at-large system.

Irving's mayor said the City Council will discuss whether to appeal the ruling at a meeting next week.

The court also threatened to impose a new plan of its own if the city does not agree to one in 90 days.

The voting rights lawsuit against Irving alleged the at-large election system kept Hispanics from being represented in local government. It was filed in November 2007 on behalf of Manuel Benavidez, an Irving resident who has twice run unsuccessfully for the school board.

Hispanic and blacks make up the majority of Irving's population, but the mayor and all eight City Council members are white.

Irving has been the site of protests in recent years. Latino advocates accuse police officers of racial profiling with the intention of arresting suspected illegal immigrants to be deported.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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