The city of Fullerton has settled a state Voting Rights Act lawsuit filed on behalf of Asian American residents by letting voters decide in 2016 on whether city council members are to be elected by districts, according to a news release from civil rights groups who sued the city.

Under the settlement, Fullerton officials must hire a demographics firm and hold extensive community meetings to receive input on potential district lines, states the press release from the American Civil Liberties Union Southern California and Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the parties suing the city.

The groups filed the lawsuit earlier this year on behalf of Korean American resident Jonathan Paik, arguing that the city’s current at-large voting system shuts out Asian American residents, who make up 23 percent of the city’s population.

All five sitting council members are white, and there hasn’t been an Asian American on the city council since 2000.

Contact Thy Vo at or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

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