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District-Based City Council Elections
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Introduction
       
Community Input

Next City Council Public Hearing
Tuesday, March 14, 2017          
7:00 pm in the City Council Chambers      
Previous Meetings
  • Public Hearing at the Chino Hill City Council meeting held on Tuesday, February 14, 2017
  • Community Information Meeting
    Held on Thursday, January 26, 2017 
        View the Meeting PowerPoint   
        View the Transition Timeline  
              
The meeting provided:
•Education on at-large vs. district-based elections
•An overview of the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA)
•An opportunity for community input
Press Release 
English Flyer & Flyer en Español

Contact
City Manager's Office 
14000 City Center Drive  
Chino Hills, CA  91709
Ph: (909) 364-2610
email

Hours
Monday - Thursday  7:30 am - 5:30 pm
Friday  7:30 am - 4:30 pm

The City of Chino Hills received a letter in August of 2016 from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) which stated that MALDEF had received complaints from Latino voters in the City that the use of an "at-large" election system for City Council elections resulted in Latino vote dilution and that Latino voters were prevented from electing candidates of their choice.  MALDEF asserted that the City is in violation of the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 and demanded that the City convert to a district-based election system. 

MALDEF letter dated August 9, 2016

Background
The City of Chino Hills currently uses an at-large election system in which all voters in the City have the opportunity to vote for candidates for all five seats on the City Council. The City Council declared their intent to transition to district-based elections on November 22, 2016 in response to the MALDEF letter which alleges that the lack of success of Latino candidates is the result of “racially polarized voting,” which exists when two racial groups vote differently from each other. The remedy for racially polarized voting is to switch to district-based voting in which the City would be divided into five districts and only the voters in a district decide who will represent that district on the City Council. 
               
Impacts on California Cities       
According to our City Attorney, a number of cities in California have faced a CVRA lawsuit since it was adopted in 2001 and none of them have successfully defended a CVRA lawsuit brought to mandate district-based elections. Mr. Hensley reported that there is a low threshold for plaintiffs to establish a valid claim under the CVRA and cities are required to pay the plaintiff’s costs if their claim is deemed valid. Because there are significant costs to defend against these lawsuits, the vast majority of cities have voted to voluntarily transition to district-based elections.
                                   
  • Modesto - settled lawsuit after citizens voted to switch to district-based voting, paid $3 million in fees to the plaintiff's lawyers and $1.7 million for its own lawyers
  • Cities sued or threatened with suit under the CVRA:  Anaheim, Bellflower, Ceres, Chino, Compton, Escondido, Fullerton, Highland, Los Banos, Merced, Palmdale, Riverbank, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Tulare, Turlock, and Visalia
  • The vast majority of cities have opted to voluntarily transition to district-based elections
  • The City of Chino conducted district-based elections in November of 2016
  • Nearly all cities in the Inland Empire have plans to transition to district-based voting

Council Actions

September 27, 2016   City Council Meeting Agenda Packet
November 22, 2016    City Council Meeting Agenda Packet