Orange County judge sets trial date for ACLU's suit against Anaheim, which is accused of voting rights act violations (Update)

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UPDATE 5:58 p.m.: Anaheim sends a statement reacting to the judge's decision:

"Today in the case Moreno v. City of Anaheim, Judge Franz Miller of the Orange County Superior Court held a status conference at which time he lifted the stay he previously imposed at the City’s request in the case and set a trial date of March 17, 2014.  Additionally, the judge set a hearing date of October 1, 2013 in order to consider the City’s motion to dismiss or stay the case."

"The City respects the Court’s decision, and appreciates the stay previously granted by Judge Miller that allowed the City to take action on changing the City's electoral system.  As noted by the Judge today, his stay permitted the City Council to complete the legislative process."

"For more information on the City Council’s actions to change the electoral system, please click here and see item #24 on the July 23, 2013 City Council meeting agenda."

PREVIOUSLY: Superior Court Judge Franz Miller has set a trial date of March 17, 2014 for the ACLU's lawsuit against the city of Anaheim. The civil rights group filed the case last year, which argues the municipality's at-large voting system violates the California Voting Rights Act.

The move is being hailed as a victory by Latino activists and the ACLU.

At issue: Over half of the city's population is Latino, but the city council is all-white.

Council members voted 3-2 earlier this month to reject district voting, which many other California cities use to promote fairer representation. Instead, the city is moving towards a residency based at-large voting system, which the ACLU says could actually make the problem worse.

Anaheim wants the case dismissed, and they’ll have another chance to present arguments at a hearing set for October 1st.

Meanwhile, in an ominous sign for Anaheim, an L.A. County judge ruled last week that Palmdale’s at-large voting system is illegal.

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