POLITICS

Voting Rights Act Violated By North Texas School District, Court Says

MANSFIELD, TX - NOVEMBER 06:  Voters cast their ballots on November 6, 2012 in Mansfield, Texas. Americans across the country participate in Election Day as President Barack Obama and Republican nominee former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney remain in a virtual tie in the national exit polls.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

MANSFIELD, TX - NOVEMBER 06: Voters cast their ballots on November 6, 2012 in Mansfield, Texas. Americans across the country participate in Election Day as President Barack Obama and Republican nominee former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney remain in a virtual tie in the national exit polls. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)  (2012 Getty Images)

A federal court has determined that a North Texas school district denies Hispanic residents an equal opportunity to vote and elect candidates of their choice.

The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Sidney Fitzwater in Dallas found that the current election process used by the Irving school district violates the federal Voting Rights Act.

Friday's ruling found in favor of plaintiffs that include Manuel Benavidez, a former Irving school board candidate.

The order means Irving must alter for the second time the way it elects board members. The ruling found as unfair the current system in which there are five single-member districts and two members elected to at-large positions.

The city west of Dallas had previously changed its election system because of prior legal challenges.

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