Port Chester Hispanics pack church meeting on federal voting case

Some Port Chester residents gathered Saturday at a public forum as the village battles the federal government about its "at-large" voting system.

The current 100-year-old system allows a voter to pick any candidate on a ballot, regardless of where they live. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sued the village in December, claiming the system disenfranchises the village's Hispanic vote. The DOJ wants March 20 elections for mayor and two trustee seats postponed until the village is divided into six districts, one of which would include a largely Latino population. Critics say it's unfair that a Latino has never served on the board, despite many Latinos living in the region. The village is expected to begin presenting its case February 20.

Port Chester resident Blanca Lopez was one of the many people who attended the contentious meeting at St. Peter's Episcopal Church Saturday. Lopez feels the redistricting plan is fair and just. The village maintains its voting system does not give any group an unfair advantage.

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