A bloc of Hispanics, estimated at a little over 20 percent of the voters, successfully installed a candidate of its choosing on a city council after a federal judge ordered the traditional one-person-one-vote system altered because the majority continued to prevail in election after election.
The situation developed in Port Chester, N.Y., where a majority white population continued to choose white candidates for the council, outvoting the estimated 21.9 percent of the voting population that was Hispanic.
However, U.S. District Judge Stephen Robinson, noting there were many more Hispanics who were not voters, demanded a change and approved the city’s plan that gave each voter six votes–with permission to concentrate them in any fashion in the recent council election.
The result was that instead of having voters cast one vote in each of six council races this summer, they were allowed to cast up to six votes for a single candidate.
Activists who oppose illegal immigration condemned the move.
“It encourages racial voting,” said William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC. “It works only when a minority votes in a racist fashion . . p;. instead of choosing candidates on their qualifications.”
The plan approved by the judge in a lawsuit by the U.S. Justice Department over the town’s election procedures was aimed at reducing the one-person-one-vote system’s effect of “illegally” diminishing Hispanic influence.
The lawsuit claimed the village’s at-large system in which all voters voted in the race for each open seat on the board let majority white voters prevent minority Hispanic voters from electing their candidates.
“Imagine [a federal program that turns] 12 million illegal aliens into voters,” he warned. “Envision a future of when that happens. A lot of people aren’t really thinking about [when the U.S. would] suddenly have a new voting bloc of 12 million illegal aliens.”
Council elections previously were staggered, with two candidates selected each election and an at-large winner-take-the-seat voting procedure. The procedure imposed under the federal government’s lawsuit had all six council seats filled during the same election–with each voter given six votes to use any way he or she chooses.
The result, as reported by The New York Times, was the election of Luis Marino, a Latino candidate who ran as a Democrat. Also elected was the first black on the board, Republican Joseph D. Kenner.
[Earlier stories on the cumulative-voting scheme can be read here.]