District Elections

Carpinteria City Council Districting

The City of Carpinteria will transition from at-large elections to district elections by November of 2022. This process will require participation from the public to create election districts that are balanced in size and protect the interest of the communities within those districts. U.S. Census Bureau Data from 2020, the most recent census, will be used during this process to ensure equal representation by each elected official.

We seek to comply with the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 and California State Laws, including the recently chaptered Fair and Inclusive Districting for Municipalities and Political Subdivisions Fair Maps Act of 2019.

We need your help to draw five districts in Carpinteria that will have one elected council member each to represent their district.

This process will last from September 2021 – March 2022 and will include multiple workshops to first identify the ‘Communities of Interest’ that we will aim to protect within these election districts and then, also with community input, the election districts will be drawn. The goal is for these districts to be adopted by the City Council in March of 2022 so that the first election can take place in November of 2022.

Background:

On July 3, 2017, the City of Carpinteria received a letter entitled Notice of Violation of California Voting Rights Act from Jatzibe Sandoval and Frank Gonzalez asserting that the City’s elections are characterized by racially polarized voting and demanding that the City commence the process to transition to district-based elections pursuant to the California Voting Rights Act (“CVRA”). The CVRA allows for Prospective Plaintiffs to file a lawsuit against the City if the City does not adopt a resolution of intent to institute district-based elections within 45 days of the Notice.

The Notice states that if the City declines to adopt a resolution of intention to transition to district elections within the 45-day period, prospective plaintiffs will commence a lawsuit to compel district-based elections. On July 31st at a special meeting, the City Council received public comment on the potential to transition to district elections and a majority of those commenting spoke in favor of instituting a district-based election system.

The prospective plaintiffs offered to consider a settlement agreement whereby the City would not be required to institute district elections until the November 2022 regular election in order to allow 2020 census data to be taken into account in drawing district boundaries. While the City denies that its at-large election system violates the CVRA or any other provision of law and asserts that the City’s election system is legal in all respects; the City Council has concluded that the public interest would be served by transitioning to a district-based electoral system due to public support for district elections, the extraordinary cost to defend against a CVRA lawsuit, and the uncertainties inherent in litigating a CVRA claim.

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