On October 31, 2017, the City received a letter from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). The letter asserts that the City’s at-large system for the election of city council members results in Latino vote dilution and prevents Latino voters from electing candidates of their choice in violation of the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) (Election Code Sections 14025 to 14032).
The letter also threatens litigation unless the City voluntarily converts to a "by-district" election system. MALDEF has served similar letters and subsequently filed lawsuits against cities for alleged CVRA violations.
The City Council, on December 12, 2017, adopted Resolution of Intention Number 2017-223 to initiate procedures for establishing and implementing by-district elections for City Council Members.
Beginning in 2018, elections for Council Members will be by district, instead of the current at-large (also known as citywide) elections in which all voters have the opportunity to make a decision on each council seat. This means that all voters will now vote for the one council member representing the district where the voters live once every four years.
The City is asking for the public's help in planning this change to by-district Council elections. Community input is important to the districting process and all residents are encouraged to attend hearings to provide public input. A frequently asked questions section is also available to answer basic questions about the proposed transition, encourage public participation, and direct inquiries for additional information.