Judge strikes down Farmers Branch voting plan

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by SARAH KUTA

Associated Press

Posted on August 2, 2012 at 7:04 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 2 at 10:18 PM

FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (AP) — A federal judge has struck down a Dallas suburb's municipal election system, saying that it violates federal voting rights law.

U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater ruled Thursday that Farmers Branch must replace its at-large voting process. In his 41-page order, The Dallas judge concluded that the system violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Farmers Branch has repeatedly made national headlines for trying to ban illegal immigrants from renting housing. Ten Hispanic voters filed suit in July 2010, alleging the at-large system for electing the five City Council members denies Hispanic residents representation.

According to court documents, Hispanics make up 45 percent of the city's 2010 population of more than 28,000 and nearly 24 percent of its electorate.

No Hispanic has ever been elected mayor or councilman.

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