Questions and Answers

If the City moves to districts for the 2018 and 2020 elections, will the City then have to redraw the districts in 2021 after the 2020 census data?

Yes.The City’s next election is 2018 and then 2020, and the lines would have to be reconsidered upon the release of the Census the following year. See Elec. Code § 21620 which states “After the initial establishment of the districts, the districts shall continue to be as nearly equal in population as may be according to the latest federal decennial census or, if authorized by the charter of the city, according to the federal mid-decade census.”

Will there be an effort in the County to engage the Latino community to become citizens? i.e. People that may be eligible to become citizens.

Such engagement efforts are not a requirement of the CVRA, which only addresses the change from at-large elections to district-based elections, nor of the decision to be made by the City Council whether to transition to district-based elections during the time period allowed by the law. It is a related matter, however, which may be the subject of further discussion by the City Council either in connection with the current matter, or at a later date.

How will the City involve the entire community in the public process and keep them involved? How will the City ensure people affected, i.e. people of color, have opportunity to speak and be involved beyond just public comment?

The City Council will hold multiple meetings over a period of not more than 90 days in order to make a final decision. These hearings will give the public the opportunity to speak to the Council about how the new electoral districts should be formed. In addition, the City is requesting the public submit paper maps of proposed districts so that the public can review and propose optional district maps. Finally, the City has been and will continue to be posting informational materials to its website, and will be partnering with community organizations to get the word out.

Is there data that can evaluate the pluses and minuses of a less homogenous council? For example, data that would show if you have regional or district elections do you have a much more contentious council advocating for its own district rather than the entire city?

City staff is not aware of any quantitative data that addresses this, though there is qualitative scholarship and case law recognizing the possibility that districts could lead to more concern for one’s district at the expense of a “big-picture” view. However, the extent to which this is true varies by jurisdiction.

What is the real candidate’s cost to run a citywide election vs. a district wide election? Can we project cost to run for a contested district seat?

The costs vary based upon the candidate’s approach. There are no City-mandated costs under either system.

Are the districts set by population or registered voters? If population, wouldn’t that create significant disparity of registered voters over the districts?

Districts are set by total population. It can create a significant disparity, but that is the basis that has been approved by the courts, including—most recently—the Supreme Court in Evenwel v. Abbott. The chief exception is that prisoners can be excluded from the population base.