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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge ruled a New York town's election system denies equal participation for Hispanics in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the landmark law associated with the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Robinson's order, dated January 17 and released by federal officials on Tuesday, directed the Village of Port Chester to rewrite its election laws because they have denied Hispanics a seat in the local government.
Hispanics make up 46 percent of Port Chester's population but no Hispanic has been elected to the board governing the village of 28,000 people some 25 miles north of New York City.
Latin American immigrants have flocked to Port Chester in recent years, seeking work in the affluent suburbs of Westchester County.
The U.S. Justice Department had sued the village but the all-white board of trustees refused to change its "at-large" system under which the board of trustees is elected by a village-wide vote rather than by districts, which would improve the chances of a Hispanic getting elected.