Central San recently transitioned from an at-large election system to an area-based election system. Under the former at-large election system, all five members of the Board of Directors were chosen by constituents from the District’s entire service area. Under area-based elections, the District has been divided into five separate election areas—called “divisions”—and voters residing in each area will select one representative to serve on the Board.
Why did Central San make this change?
Central San received a certified letter from a Malibu-based law firm on July 13, 2020, asserting that the District’s at-large election system violated the California Voting Rights Act. The letter did not provide any evidence of a violation. Still, Central San took the assertions in the letter very seriously and took appropriate action. The letter threatened litigation if the District did not adopt a by-division election system.
Central San is not alone; many cities, school districts, and special districts have received similar letters in recent years. Based on similar cases in other jurisdictions, litigation over this issue is usually very expensive, over $1,000,000 and sometimes more. To avoid this significant cost to customers, the Board decided to change the election system.
In fall 2020, Central San held a series of public hearings to set preliminary election area boundaries and determine the election sequence. Following the Public Hearing on November 16, 2020, the Board adopted by resolution map 103b and the following sequence of elections: Divisions 2 and 3 on the ballot in 2022, and Divisions 1, 4, and 5 on the ballot in 2024.
Next summer, after we receive the 2020 Census data for our service area, we’ll be holding additional hearings and reshaping the boundaries to their final form. Central San invites all residents of the District to be part of the process. Please plan to join us next summer to help ensure the best representation for all members of our community.
If you have questions or for more information, contact the Secretary of the District at firstname.lastname@example.org or (925) 229-7303.