In a historic vote, the Orange County Board of Supervisors on Monday created a majority-Latino district for the first time while also giving power to Asian voters.
The lines for the supervisors’ districts, redone once a decade after the national census, have long been drawn in a way that makes it hard for Latinos to be elected, despite the ethnic group’s rapid growth.
It has been 15 years since there was a Latino representative on the five-member board, which oversees a roughly $7.7-billion budget.
Many advocates celebrated the vote Monday afternoon, saying it was a seismic shift that could help Latinos elect candidates who can advocate for issues crucial to their communities, including housing and healthcare — needs that have been highlighted by the pandemic….
Still, the final map makes three of five districts majority Republican, despite GOP registration in the county trending downward, said Julia Gomez, an ACLU staff attorney.
Gomez called the creation of a Latino-majority district “a huge victory” for the county. But she also alleges that the southern section of the county was gerrymandered in a way that reduces the influence of Democratic voters.
“So, it’s really a partial victory for community members,” she said.