When residents of Lowell, Massachusetts, vote Tuesday, they’ll be exercising their civic responsibility against the backdrop of a lawsuit that will pit the city against its minority citizens.
In a city notable for its diversity — taken together, ethnic minorities almost form a majority — Tuesday’s contests for City Council and school committee are playing out against a voting rights lawsuit 13 Asian-American and Hispanic residents filed against the city in May, an action that echoes others elsewhere in the United States.
On Oct. 17, at the first public hearing on Huot v. City of Lowell in U.S. District Court, Judge William Young denied the city’s motion to dismiss.
The suit alleges the city’s at-large electoral “winner-take-all” system dilutes the minority vote and discriminates against candidates from minority communities.
Young’s decision means the city government of Lowell is likely headed to trial against some of its minority residents.