Florida’s Osceola County ends fight on voting rights
Port Chester folks might be interested in the news out of Osceola, Florida, where a voting rights battle similar to the one under way locally seems to have reached an end.
Osceola County spent a reported $2 million fighting a Justice Department lawsuit before changing its voting system to single-member districts, which will give Hispanics a better shot at electing a candidate of their choice. The county school board, looking at a similar challenge, relented Tuesday. Board members will run in each of five districts instead of serving countywide.
The New York-based Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund had threatened to sue if the board did not change its at-large system, and voters in a referendum favored the change. Half of students in the Osceola school district are Hispanic, but no Hispanic has never been elected to the board.
â€œThe school board did the right thing in giving the citizens of Osceola County what they asked for â€“ fair elections,â€ Cesar Perales, PRLDEF’s president and general counsel said in a statement today. â€œWe now urge those citizens who want to share power to run for office.â€
In Port Chester, the Justice Department is seeking a system of six voting districts, each electing a member to the village board. The Port Chester school board is not a part of the case.