• Orange County redistricting lawsuit by Hispanic group moves forward

    Updated:

    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Channel 9's Jorge Estevez has learned that the final attempt to stop a redistricting lawsuit against Orange County has failed.

    The lawsuit claims that the Orange County Commission accepted a redistricting plan that does not give Hispanics a majority district. That, the suit says, is a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

    "You feel the Hispanic population is not represented?" Estevez asked activist Zoraida Rios-Andino.

    "Oh definitely, not here in Orange County," said Rios-Andino.

    Rios-Andino is one of four residents suing Orange County. She said she feels her fundamental American rights are being violated.

    "We have a third of a population that is totally disenfranchised from the county, in terms of representations through taxation," she said.

    Rios-Andino said she believes the new lines that gave Hispanics two districts, 3 and 4, with more than a 40 percent Latino population, is not enough to ensure Hispanics get elected.

    "So then why does a commissioner need to be Hispanic to properly reflect or listen to the district?" Estevez asked Rios-Andino.

    "Because if they are involved in the community, they know what the issues are right now. We have issues in our community that no one is addressing, because they are not involved," said Rios-Andino.

    In this most recent election, Hispanic candidates lost in Districts 3 and 4. Rios-Andino uses that as an example of the current system not working.

    "But shouldn't the proper commissioner doing his or her job, regardless of ethnicity, be able to do that for your community," Estevez asked Rios-Andino.

    "They should, but that is not happening," said Rios-Andino. "I am willing to take this all the way. I do whatever we have to do for social justice."

    Rios-Andino said she will work to gather support for the lawsuit, which is scheduled to go to court in the spring.


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