District-Based Elections

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By District Gavel ImageOn March 26 the Apple Valley Town Council will hold the first in a series of public hearings and workshops to discuss switching from at-large to by-district voting.

Town Council Members are currently elected through an at-large election system, where voters from throughout the entire Town can vote for any Council candidates. In a by-district or district-based election system, however, a Council candidate must reside within an election district and is elected by voters residing only within that geographic area.

In recent years, a number of cities in California have been sued under the California Voter’s Rights Act (CVRA) by plaintiffs alleging that at-large election systems result in “racially polarized” voting. On January 2, the Town received a letter from Kevin Shenkman of Shenkman & Hughes, PC, alleging that the Town’s at-large election system diluted the ability of certain protected classes of persons within the Town to elect candidates of their choice based on the CVRA.

Following discussion at a special meeting on Feb. 15, the Town Council adopted a resolution to declare its intent to transition to a by-district system.

“Transitioning to a by-district election system will cost approximately $60,000, which is significantly less than the millions of dollars a potential lawsuit would cost,” said Town Attorney Thomas Rice.

The upcoming public hearing is the first of two that will explain the districting process and discuss drawing district boundaries, a process that will require the Town to retain a demographic expert. The second public hearing is scheduled for April 9. Next steps will include publishing draft maps, tentatively set for completion by May 3.

A further two public hearings are tentatively scheduled for May 14 and June 11 to receive input regarding the maps and the proposed sequence of elections. In addition to the formal Public Hearings, two public workshops will be held on April 3 and the week of May 20 to allow for additional public input on the process. According to the tentative plan, the Town Council will then consider the introduction of an ordinance at a fifth public hearing on July 9 and, if such an ordinance is introduced, will consider adoption of an ordinance at its July 23 regular meeting.  

 

Tentative Meeting Schedule:

Date

Event

Location

March 26, 6:30 p.m.

Public Hearing #1

Council Chambers
14955 Dale Evans Parkway
Apple Valley,  CA 92307

April 3, 5 p.m.

Public Workshop

Conference Center South
14975 Dale Evans Parkway
Apple Valley, CA  92307

April 9, 6:30 p.m.

Public Hearing #2

Council Chambers
14955 Dale Evans Parkway
Apple Valley,  CA 92307

May 3

Release of Maps

Available online and in the Town Clerk's Office

May 14, Time TBD

Public Hearing #3

Council Chambers
14955 Dale Evans Parkway
Apple Valley,  CA 92307

TBD (Week of May 20)

Public Workshop

TBD

June 11, Time TBD

Public Hearing #4

Council Chambers
14955 Dale Evans Parkway
Apple Valley,  CA 92307

July 9, 6:30 p.m.

Public Hearing #5 and Introduction of Ordinance

Council Chambers
14955 Dale Evans Parkway
Apple Valley,  CA 92307

July 23, 6:30 p.m.

Adoption of Ordinance

Council Chambers
14955 Dale Evans Parkway
Apple Valley,  CA 92307

 

Additional Information & Documents: