Paik v City of Fullerton is a lawsuit alleging that the City of Fullerton's at-large elections violate the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), which prevents cities from imposing at-large elections that deny minority communities the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice or influence the outcome of elections.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of Jonathan Paik, a representative of Fullerton's sizeable Asian-American population, alleging that the city's current at-large system for electing city council members denies large segments of the community — especially Asian Americans — a voice in how their city is governed.

Under Fullerton's at-large election system, all five city council members are elected by every voter in the city, regardless of where the candidate and voter live, resulting in members who are unaccountable to many communities they purport to represent.

District elections, like those recently adopted in Anaheim, however, would require each of the council members to live in the district they represent and be elected by voters in that district, providing all voting residents, especially minorities, with government representatives that are responsive to their concerns.

Fullerton has a population of just over 135,100, according to the U.S. Census, making it one of the largest cities in California to use at-large elections.

Case Developments

July 8, 2015
The City of Fullerton must develop a district-based system for electing its city council and present it for voter approval, as part of a settlement filed. Read the settlement.

March 18, 2015
ACLU SoCal and partners file suit against the City of Fullerton on behalf of plaintiff Jonathan Paik. Read the complaint.

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Law Office of Robert Rubin, Sidley Austin LLP

Date filed

March 17, 2015


Superior Court of California for the County of Orange Central Justice Center