DALLAS -- A federal judge on Thursday struck down Farmers Branch's decades-old municipal election system, finding that its practice of citywide voting for all council seats discriminates against Hispanics, who make up more than 45 percent of the population.U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater ruled that the at-large voting process violates the Voting Rights Act.Farmers Branch has repeatedly made national headlines for trying to ban illegal immigrants from renting housing. Ten Hispanic voters filed suit in July 2010, asserting that the at-large system for electing the five City Council members denies Hispanic residents representation.According to court documents, Hispanics make up 45 percent of the city's 2010 population of more than 28,000 and nearly 24 percent of its electorate. No Hispanic has ever been elected mayor or councilman. There have been at least four City Council elections in which a Hispanic candidate has received a majority of the Hispanic vote but has not won."Plaintiffs have proved, under the totality of the circumstances, that Hispanics in Farmers Branch have less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice," Fitzwater wrote.The city must submit a revised voting plan to the court within 60 days.Bill Brewer, the plaintiffs' attorney, said the ruling should serve as a signal to the other communities with "voting schemes that do not allow fair representation of minorities.""I would hope given the fair and balanced view of the law and its application to the facts presented to [Judge Fitzwater] that the leadership at Farmers Branch would finally get on with the business of making their community a little more hospitable to the significant number of their neighbors who are Hispanic," Brewer said.Farmers Branch City Manager Gary Greer said Thursday that he was still reviewing the judge's opinion. However, he said he attended the entire trial and was impressed with how carefully the judge listened."We can either abide by the order or appeal the decision," Greer said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. "We will have our attorneys come and talk to City Council next Tuesday, and from there make a policy decision about what we want to do."Greer said he could not predict whether or not Farmers Branch would appeal the decision.Under the current at-large voting system, everyone in the city votes for candidates for each of the six seats -- five council members and one mayor -- with a runoff when no candidate receives a majority vote.The plaintiffs are calling for a single-member voting plan in which the city is divided into electoral districts.