Multi-Lingual Videos for Lowell Election
Multi-Lingual Public Education Videos Released Before Vote On New Electoral System For Lowell, MA
City To Change Voting System Following Settlement Of Federal Voting Rights Lawsuit
As part of a landmark settlement of a federal Voting Rights Act case brought by Asian American and Latinx residents of Lowell, Massachusetts, the City is preparing to adopt a new system for electing its City Council and School Committee. Today, Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) released multi-lingual public education videos designed to inform the community of the two different – and more fair – electoral systems that the City may choose from under the federal court settlement. Residents of Lowell will vote on November 5, 2019 to express their preference between the two options.
The 5-minute videos released today in English, Spanish, and Khmer explain how the City’s current at-large electoral system impermissibly dilutes the vote of communities of color and how Asian American and Latinx residents secured a federal court settlement requiring the City to change to a more fair and equitable electoral system.
The videos outline the two new options that the City may choose from under the settlement: ranked choice voting or a district-based system. The question of which option to select will be the subject of non-binding ballot initiatives in Lowell this November. The settlement requires the City to choose which system to adopt shortly after the November vote.
“It is exciting to see our client communities engaged in this historic decision,” said Oren Sellstrom, Litigation Director of LCR and one of the attorneys for the Plaintiffs. “As our videos explain, either of the two options will solve the vote dilution problem inherent in the current at-large system and will ensure that communities of color have equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice. Now it is up to the City’s residents to help decide which of these options will work best for Lowell.” Sellstrom added that everyone is encouraged to share the videos widely within their communities.
The federal court case is Huot v. City of Lowell. In addition to LCR, the Asian American and Latinx voters are represented by Ropes & Gray LLP on a pro bono basis. The case is the first Voting Rights Act case in the country ever brought on behalf of a coalition of Asian American and Latinx voters.