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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Contact: Michael Bustamante (916) 425-0839
Antonio Gonzalez (323) 222-2217

Download printable Adobe Acrobat Copies of WCVI/CORE's litigation:

Velasquez Institute, Congress on Racial Equality, File Suit to REMOVE Prop. 77 Reapportionment Initiative from Ballot
‘Bait and Switch’ Tactic Would Mislead, Disenfranchise California Voters

Sacramento, CA – Representatives of the William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI) and the California Chapter of the Congress on Racial Equality Legal Defense and Education Fund (CORE-CA/LDEF), two of the nation’s preeminent civil rights and voter empowerment organizations, filed suit today with the Sacramento Superior Court requesting the court to order California’s Secretary of State to remove Proposition 77, a reapportionment initiative filed by Ted Costa and other parties, from the upcoming California statewide special election ballot slated for November 8.

“The reapportionment ballot initiative process not only violates the law, it stands to disenfranchise historically underrepresented communities and mislead California ’s voters,” said Antonio Gonzalez, president of the William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI), a non-partisan, non-profit Latino-oriented organization also involved in the 1990 and 2000 California Redistricting Process. “We’re not talking about a typo, but a significant, substantive change in wording. By design, the laws governing the initiative process intentionally guard against this kind of abuse in order to protect Californians’ civil and voting rights.”

According to their suit, the WVCI and CORE-CA/LDEF call attention to substantive language changes made in Section 2 of the initiative that provides for the nomination of twenty four retired judges to oversee redistricting. By filing a different version of the initiative with the Secretary of State than that filed with the Attorney General and circulated to voters, WCVI and CORE-CA/LDEF allege in their suit that proponents’ actions may also have perpetrated a fraud against California voters.

“Mr. Costa is back again with another plan, each one worse than the preceding,” said Adrian Dove, Chairman of the Congress on Racial Equality of California Legal Defense and Education Fund (CORE-CA/LDEF). “This initiative does damage not just to the minority communities of California , but to the majority as well.”

In addition to the switching of language, WCVI and CORE-CA/LDEF lawyers also argue in their writ to the court that the initiative, as written, violates the 14 th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by using six-year old data to determine redistricting, thereby violating the one person, one vote provisions of the Constitution. The writ argues that Latino, African American and Asian populations grew at a substantially higher rate than the rest of the state. If true, using six year old census data would effectively under represent Latino and Asian populations and result in fundamentally disenfranchising the rights of voters. WCVI and CORE-CA/LDEF intend to investigate these serious issues thoroughly in the litigation they have filed.

About the William C. Velasquez Institute

Chartered in 1985, the William C. Velasquez Institute is a nonpartisan, non-profit, Latino-oriented research and policy think tank with offices in San Antonio, Texas and Los Angeles, California. For more information regarding WCVI, please visit our website at www.wcvi.org.

About CORE-CA/LDEF

CORE-CA, and its Legal Defense and Education Fund descends from one of the oldest and most prestigious civil rights organizations in the United States. Its original Chaiman was Celes King III, one of the Tuskegee Airmen, and an historical leader in the Civil Rights movement. Its Chairman today is Adrian Dove, a Civil Rights leader in his own right.

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