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Fullerton Sued Over Asian-American Voting Rights

FULLERTON (AP) — The city of Fullerton was sued Wednesday over an at-large election system that Asian-American advocates say harms the community's voting rights, lawyers said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California said it sued the city of 135,000 people on behalf of Korean-American community organizer Jonathan Paik.

The suit alleges Asian-Americans are unable to elect candidates to the City Council despite voting as a bloc and demands Fullerton move to district-based elections to give the community a voice.

"No one wins when some residents are shut out of government," said Belinda Escobosa Helzer, director of the ACLU's Orange County office, adding that Asian-Americans should have a say in key issues such as educational programs and development.

Chi-Chung Keung, a spokesman for Fullerton, said the city is working with attorneys to reach a solution.

Last year, a former City Council candidate sued Fullerton, which is 34 percent Latino and 23 percent Asian, saying the current election system harms Latino voters.

After facing similar lawsuits over voting rights, the Southern California cities of Anaheim and Escondido moved to district elections.

(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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